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

Growing Through Your Going-Through Season

Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.

Genesis 45:4-8 NLT

How many of you feel like you are going through a tough time, maybe even the most difficult period in your life? Do you perhaps have a dream, and once you shared that dream publicly, it was discounted and questioned–let me be blunt, attacked by the enemy? Joseph went through a tough decade or so, all so he could give birth the dream that God gave him. Joseph was sold into slavery, thrown into prison, all to be elevated to second in command to Pharaoh alone. But from that nearly 13+ year span from the time he had the dream until it actually manifested, he was going through some things. I can attest to that experience.

Joseph was ‘hated on’ by his brothers for being the favorite son of their father. His dad made him a coat of many colors (Gen 37) to show how much he loved him. Joseph was a dreamer, and had two dreams that he shared with his brothers; these dreams would dictate his destiny and kindle a fire of hatred within his brothers. Their hatred grew so strong that they plotted to kill him. Fortunately one brother came up with an alternate idea to put him in a pit instead so that he could later rescue Joseph; in his absence the other brothers decided to sell him into slavery. Unknown to them, their act of jealousy and hatred towards Joseph propelled him into his appointed place.

In Genesis 39 Joseph is chief servant to Potiphar (elevation in the midst of slavery), and again, the enemy tried to abort his destiny through Potiphar’s wife. She wanted Joseph so bad that she lied when he refused to sleep with her. So this time, Joseph is put into the king’s prison. Important to note is that throughout all of this, God’s favor was on Joseph. He went from imminent death at his brothers’ hands to slavery (although some would argue this is any better). He went from being a slave to being the chief slave/servant in charge of all the affairs in Potiphar’s household. Even in prison, he was the head prisoner, in charge of all the affairs of the prison. It is also notable to recognize that the people Joseph worked for were blessed because of that same favor.

I am sure during that time period, God purified Joseph from any bitterness, anger, hatred, and resentments he may have had towards his brothers. Because Joseph honored the Lord, God promoted him in the midst of his sufferings, right where he was. Joseph chose to grow where he was planted and God blessed everything he set his hands to. And when his opportunity came to go before the king, God gave Joseph the tools he needed to manifest his own childhood dream as he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. When its your time and season, God will give you everything you need–or rather remind you of what He has already put within you. The trials you experience are for your testing; if you have been taught and learned something all semester, the only way for you to prove what you know is through passing the test!

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV