Having Faith When the Situation Seems Hopeless

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 HCSB

How do you have faith when everything that you know comes crashing down? Have you ever felt hopeless?

I remember when I got sick in college. I had prayed that I did not have Lupus, repeatedly. In my mind, I was devastated because there was nothing the doctors could give me those two weeks I waited to find out, because they did not know what was going on. I was asking why me, why am I still alive, why am I suffering? I had lost hope, or rather I had lost faith. I had lost belief and trust in God because I could not understand what was going on at the time. I was thinking about myself, thinking about why did that thing had happened to me. But I remained prayerful, because it was the only thing I knew that would produce a result.

Of course all along I was praying, so I never lost sight of what I knew–which was that God had to heal me. Even though I was still in a vulnerable place, my faith was my reality and I knew that God’s word was truth. So sometime after I being released, I talked to one of my mentors. I told her that God was going to heal me and she said that God doesn’t heal everybody. I realized I could not receive her words because it went against the truth that God had revealed to me in my heart and in His word. I held on to that belief and rested in the fact that I could not accept things went against what I knew…and I can say that from 2003 to 2006 my lupus serologies were negative; it was positive once while I was hospitalized in February of 2006, and it has never been positive since.

I thought about these things today as I left the courthouse. I saw several men and a few women that have fallen into a state of hopelessness, or truthfully speaking, disbelief. They do not believe in anything and accept life as they see it as reality and their lives and choices manifest the evidence of it. And I asked God, how can we faith in a place like this? How can you have faith when the system (well, the legal system here in New Orleans, that is, and I’m sure several other places, but metaphorically speaking) is orchestrated for your failure?

I realized this as I got some news that would have depressed most people…but because I know that God has control of everything, I am faithful that it will work out and truthfully not concerned. We maintain faith in desolate places by remembering the truth of God’s word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17. It is the promises of God, and the things He has already done for us and for others that should serve as the foundation for our faith. I digress and I realize that most of you may not be like me; there are things that I know as truth and fact–The Word–and for those things there is nothing that can come against it. Being raised in the church and as the granddaughter of a preacher, one thing I was raised to know, was that the Word of God was, is and will always be fact. So despite doubting because I had momentarily accepted what I saw as reality, I was reminded of the scripture above that has come to be one of my favorites. Knowing or believing in a thing makes it a fact for us. When we condition our minds to acknowledge the Word of God as fact, all else fades away. It is at that point that your faith becomes your reality and the things you are believing God for are merely waiting in the queue, so to speak, to manifest. It is in having that Word database that you are able to encourage yourself and others when life may be saying otherwise.

So the key to having faith even when the world seems to be crashing around you, when everything you have known is no more, is in trusting what you know–trusting and relying on the promises of God. Even when your mind says no, you have to make the decision to keep trusting in God’s word. Trust in what He has done for you. Trust in what He has done time and time again and bear down in your faith and know that your breakthrough awaits. You must know that this situation and all others in your life will ultimately work out for your good, because like the Word, it is written.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Psalm 34:19 KJV2000
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. Psalm 71:20 NIV


Basic Training

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NLT

I am familiar enough with the military to know that basic training is difficult. In basic training, you learn the basic skills necessary to be successful to enter military service–in a vacuum, I might add. The key things you learn during the process are discipline, endurance, and faith. But the process prepares you for battle, and for more learning.

This is a time of warfare friends. The Gospel being preached now doesn’t prepare us for the attacks of the enemy and his forces. Let’s be clear, we do have an enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."(NASB) This tells us that he is here, in our lives, operating through the people we work with, hang out, sometimes live with, and even fellowship with. We have to seek God with such fervor so that we can be trained properly on how to deal with him. This training enables us to pass the tests and be promoted in rank, which of course, has more training and more tests.

So then, what is basic training for a Christian? First, you must accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. (see John 14:6,7,13) Jesus is the way to the Father, and if you ask anything in His name, He will do it, so that the Father is glorified. Next, feed on pure spiritual milk. (1 Peter 2:2) But allow God to grow you. Next, study the Word, call on God, and seek divine wisdom! (see Jer 33:3, James 1:5) As babies grow and mature to understanding, so must you. Study, says Paul to Timothy, to show yourself approved, rightfully dividing the Word of truth. (paraphrasing 2 Timothy 2:15) After you have studied, you must become trained in what weapons are available for your use–see Ephesians 6:10-18. You can know the Word but not putting it to proper use won’t do you any good! You have to know to protect yourself and others with the Word. You have to know that calling on God in prayer and seeking wisdom for how to deal with the situations that will come is the strategy, something that you learn from studying and becoming well versed in the use of the weapons. These situations come to test you and sometimes to break you.

After basic training, the enemy is sure to come; he knows that God has a purpose for you and so he will come at you more intensely. So using that wisdom and discerning the attacks of the enemy–whether it be through things that happened in the past or unforeseen circumstances that will arise–you can rest in God knowing that He will give you the tools necessary to succeed and He is sure to guide you into deliverance. Like the enlisted soldier, once you pass basic training, you are ready for deployment to gain the specialized skills necessary for walking in your purpose. Don’t make the key mistake of failing to train; because when the heat turns up, you will be put to the test!

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory; 1 Peter 1:6-8