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

Is Your Faith Fireproof?

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13 KJV

I have had these scriptures posted on my door for several years now. But I did not truly understand what was being said in them until last year. Having gone through my ‘wilderness’ experience while living in Charleston, being tested in every area of my life, I honestly was mad and angry with God for allowing me to suffer so greatly. I simply could not understand why I had to go through all of those things that happened while I was in Charleston–in the midst of them. But since I have been gone, it has all been making sense.

My one desire was to finish college and grad school on time. I pushed myself so hard, working full-time at my co-op the summer of 2007 and writing two papers while applying for scholarships and the like. I was not going to allow my kidney disease to keep me from meeting that deadline. The following summer after graduation, it was all worth it. The long hours at school, the loans I took out to live alone…it was all worth it. But immediately after graduation, at my 23rd birthday celebration I was in severe pain all the while smiling through it. It was this that initiated my entering my wilderness experience. By now it should be common knowledge that my kidneys began to rapidly decline in function, which resulted in my kidney transplant. And all the while I was trying to get my finances in order to buy a townhouse and live normally…or so I thought.

2009, 2010, and 2011 brought trials of every area, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I couldn’t for the life of me understand what I had done to bring about God’s mighty hand against me, or why He allowed me to go through those things. I was angry with God. Why was I born, why into this family, why I had to suffer with these issues, with no one to talk to about it, with no one to help me, to suffer through some of the worst things–ALONE. All the while, I had these scriptures posted on my door, and I did not understand what they were saying to me. I was angry, but I kept praying for understanding. Of course, as God always does, after the tests and trials were over, I began to see and understand what He was doing.

In life, the one thing we can be assured of is that we will endure tests or ‘trials’ as referred to here. I felt so much like Job, like God what had I done to go through these things. It was after being delivered from a victim mentality and spirit of self-pity that I could see my own faults clearly and then I understood what was the purpose behind the trials. Be careful what you pray for…gosh that is the TRUTH! I prayed for God to use me and to make me more like Jesus, to fix me so that He could use me to help others and walk in my life’s calling–and as a result I had a whole lot of junk that needed to be removed from Him to be able to do those things.

I know now that it was the trials that helped to refine me (although lets be real here, I need more fixing lol). Trials expose you to God’s fire…and His fire will not burn you; instead fiery trials purify and prune you. They cause you to die to self so that everything in your life brings God the glory. It is the fire that purges you from old habits, attitudes, and behaviors. Think about it, most people can’t understand your transformation knowing you used to do this, that, and some other questionable things. It is only God’s power that can bring about a transformation in the midst of struggle and strife. It is only God that can fill those voids and make you whole.

I ask today is your faith fireproof for the following reasons:
1. Can you endure what seems like the lowest point of your life and still trust God?
2. Can you suffer through test after test after test without having any confirmation that God is speaking to you or working in your life?
3. Can you trust God enough to allow the process to be completed??? This means allowing His transformation of your life to come to completion, even if it means severing relationships, moving, and isolation.

I would like to think my faith is fireproof, but I know with every level of elevation, there are new trials and ‘new devils.’ I am trusting God to keep the temperature turned up so that I can be made more and more like Christ. So that may mean that some day I won’t do something I did everyday prior to that or I may not talk to a lifelong friend. But as long as it is a part of God’s tests and purification of me, it is worth it, knowing that I can rejoice at God’s revelation of His glory upon my life. Besides, I know my earthly parents dished out many a fiery ‘spanking’ to make me a better person…wouldn’t our Heavenly Father light the fire underneath us to make us better?

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:17-18 NIV