Have you ever found yourself running low on and in faith? I know I have. Hard as I’d try, I just couldn’t figure out how to increase my faith. I wanted to have more faith during our trying times. I longed to have more faith, because I knew that without faith, it is impossible to please God.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. -Hebrews 11:6
I’m currently reading a book by R.A. Torrey “How To Pray,” and in it he made a statement that would Sum up what I’ve stumbled upon, but was never able to fully articulate.
He begins with this Bible verse, one we’ve all heard, but not sure we’ve fully absorbed.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. -Romans 10:17
Torrey goes on to say, “If we are to have real faith, we must study the Word of God and find out what is promised, then simply believe the promises of God. Faith must have a warrant. Trying to believe something that you want to believe is not faith. Believing what God says in His Word is faith. If I am to have faith when I pray, I must find some promise in the Word of God on which to rest my faith.”
Did you catch that? It felt like it jumped off the page and slapped me out of a fog! I don’t know about you, but often times I will pray, but not as specific as I ought to on God’s promises. Or, I have prayed what was in my heart, but did it line up with God’s Word, His promises? Often no. Not that it was bad, but it wasn’t what God promised.
Okay, back to faith. I’ve gone through seasons and trials where I really struggled with my faith, meaning I wished I had more! Know what I mean? I would ask God in prayer, “How do I get more faith? What must I do?” I felt so desperate to have greater faith, to believe God for more of the impossible and truly, in those moments, increasing my faith seemed like it was the impossible! What happened? How did it increase and how long did it take?
As I continued studying God’s Word, slowly, very slowly it felt like, it happened. My faith began to increase. I spent more time with Him, in His Word, in studying His Word, in reading and listening to books about His Word and in prayer. I began to know His voice, to know what was in and out of character with Him. I began to recall Bible verses in my prayer times or when I was simply calling out to Him in desperation. It was the Bible verses that increased my faith. It was in knowing God and His character that my faith also began to increase. When I’d get in a tough situation, because let’s face it, few of us “feel” we “need” faith in easy-going and good times, but during these hard times, I noticed I had more peace, more joy and was content with where I was, not that I wanted to stay there of course. I knew in time, help would come, things would change and the clouds would lift. I also found that it was those very difficult situations that I once hated that helped to increase my faith, because it’s in the lion’s den that our level of faith gets exposed, gratefully, so that God can help us to increase it and please Him more.
What are the fruits of faith during hard times? It is peace, joy, hope, love, patience, perseverance and a great anticipation for God to show up in a really BIG way to pull us through our mess. It’s not to say that it’s easy, but it is a matter of perspective and focus. How? Well, if we keep our focus on our problems, we are not, cannot, be focused on God and His promises, through our Lord Jesus. However, if we keep our hope, our great anticipation, on Him and His promises, the problems will get slightly out of focus and in some cases, really out of focus and this freaks some people out, especially if you’re like me and are a recovering worry wart! Hang in there, there is hope! We, if not careful, will freak out if we don’t focus on our problems, believing somehow if we keep our gaze and full concentration on it or them, we will be able to fix it. Wrong perspective though. The right focus is to keep our eyes on Jesus, knowing He will do all He has promised, if we ask and in asking we believe. We will find, in time, it’s really nice to change our view from staring down our problems to keeping our eyes, mind and heart fixed on our coming King, Jesus. I promise, He’s much better for us to look at. He is our deliver, He is our Redeemer and it is He who will help us get through this fire too.
Through it all faith is increased in tough times and by studying God’s Word, to know deep within you God’s promises, His voice and His character. We will find when tempted to doubt Him, the more we know Him, the closer we are to Him, the less likely the enemy can fool us about Him and the less we can be discouraged during the hardest of battles, because we not only know, but trust that God is faithful to do all that He has promised.
If you are in a period or a season where you are struggling with your faith, due to very trying times, I pray you will seek God out in both His Word and in prayer…you cannot spend a lot of time with someone and not get to know them very well and the same is true for God…the good thing about God, that we lack, is He is consistent, constant and forever faithful, and you can count on Him at all times, because He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever….
May your faith in Him and His promises know no limits.
Yours in Jesus’ name and His unyielding love,