We have a faith problem in the American church. We don’t want to own it, or maybe we don’t realize it, but we do. Here is what I mean: we believe that God can, but we aren’t as quick to believe He will. It doesn’t necessarily start that way, but it is more often than we want to admit where we end up.
That family member who is so very far from God – Can God save them? Absolutely! Will He? It’s possible, but it’s really a matter of their heart. When we first begin to pray our heart is full of faith, “God, I know you love him more than I do. I know he is your son and you want him to come home. Surround him with believers, soften his heart to your Spirit. Let him find you, Lord.” For how long do we pray that way? Weeks, months, maybe a year or two. At some point, to mask our disappointment, we find ourselves saying things like, “God’s timing is perfect,” or, “sometimes people just choose rebellion.” At some point our faith in what we hope for is no longer certain of what we do not see.
A lack of healing, a lost loved one, an opportunity that doesn’t come — these are all examples of times that we let go of faith. Hebrews doesn’t tell us to have faith for two years, or that God only listens to the prayer the first 100 times. Faith is something we are called to have always, even when we see no signs of the miracle. Even MORE SO when we see no signs of the miracle.
It’s hard to have faith when there is that doubt of “what if He doesn’t.” Sometimes people aren’t healed. Sometimes loved ones don’t find Jesus. But that is not how we are called to live our lives. It is not the standard God has set for us and when we lose faith, we lose fervency in our prayers. When we lose fervency in our prayers, the enemy gains ground. Spiritual warfare is very real. There are battles being fought between angels and demons that we do not see, battles for our souls and those we love. Our spirit-filled prayers are the weapon we have to help in the fight, yet we lay them down when our faith gives out.
Many years ago I had a best friend. She was honestly the friend I’d prayed for my whole life; there was one problem, she wasn’t following Christ. I knew that God brought us into each others lives for a purpose. We had amazing talks about how Jesus wanted to be her best friend, how He could heal her marriage, and how much He loved her. I prayed for her constantly because I loved her so very much and I was grateful to have her in my life. I couldn’t imagine eternity without her. Then she betrayed me. In a blink the friendship was over and I was reeling. I grieved like she had died — in my heart she had. I was so angry and beyond hurt. I stopped praying because I stopped caring. But God did something truly amazing. She found Jesus and she began to pray. For me. For our relationship to be healed and restored. I didn’t know any of this until several years later when she reached out. I wish that I had been praying too. It still breaks my heart how I responded, but God is so very faithful. The faith of this young Christ-follower was strong enough to believe God for what she could never see happening, and it led to the miracle of full restoration in our lives. She is not my best friend; she is my beautiful sister in Christ. So much more than I could ever have hoped or imagined… I am still humbled to think that her faith was greater than mine and grateful that God used it.
Sadly, in spite of that miraculous story in my life (and others), I still struggle with faith. I still struggle to believe that the God who can, will. It is something He is consistently helping me to learn. Even when I am inconsistent with wanting to learn it.
- What have you stopped believing God for? How might He reawaken your faith in that area?
- Make a list of prayers that are not yet answered. Instead of asking God to do something, begin to pray for them again — this time asking for His will to be done in each of them. For character to built in you through the waiting and for your hope in the miracle to be restored.
- Make a list of prayers that weren’t answered. Prayerfully release them to God and ask Him to restore your faith and belief that He is still a miracle-working Father.
2 thoughts on “The Problem with Faith”
This is so wonderfully written. I thought about writing down the unanswered prayers, believing God can answer it, if it’s His will. But when the personal prayers, that I have prayed for long hasn’t been answered, I think that is God’s answer. I am reminded when David wanted to build God a house and God said, “No, but his son, Solomon would build the house.” I will with as much faith as I have today rewrite down five unanswered prayers and trust God’s answer, yes or no, with loving kindness.
Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts. Sometimes God’s answers are “no” but we also can learn what is His will from Scripture — that none should perish, that we have abundant life, that we seek His Kingdom first. As long as we are asking for things that align with His will, we have to hold on to our faith – hope and certainty!