Trust in and rely confidently on the LORD with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. - Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP
On October 26, 2018, at 5 A.M. a knock at my front door startled me out of my sleep. The knock wasn’t from a friend or a neighbor, it was from the police. I was only a few hours away from boarding a plane, traveling to Costa Rica, and celebrating my 33rd birthday. Instead, I found myself in jail, in distress, and in pain. Trouble knocked at my door that morning, and I answered it. When I say I answered it, what I mean is I tried to resolve and make sense of what was happening to me without going to God first.
What trouble has knocked at your door that you answered? Maybe it was a layoff you were not expecting, a disappointing medical report, collection notice, eviction, separation, or unexpected death. Oftentimes, when we find ourselves in a situation that we never imagined we would be in - we try to take care of it on our own. Instead of trusting God, we look for solutions in people, money, material goods, and self-sabotaging behaviors.
There are some things that people, money, drugs, sex, etc. cannot fix or heal. For those things, you need God. I know I did. Money got me out of jail and got me a lawyer, but it could not give me my freedom - only God could do that. Freedom, not in the form of deliverance from my troubles, but in knowing that regardless of my situation and circumstances that God is fighting for me (Exodus 14:14). And if God is fighting for us, what troubles can stand against us (Romans 8:31)?
Set-up by God
So, when trouble knocks at your door, let God answer it. You should let God answer it because He is the one who invited it. If you do not believe God invites trouble, just look at the story of Job:
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil… One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” - Job 1:1, 6-8 NIV
God asked Satan “where have you come from?” and Satan answered from roaming the earth. We know from 1 Peter 5:8, that the devil roams the earth like a roaring lion, looking for someone to attack. Now God, being completely unprovoked, offers Job to Satan for him to attack. Why would God invite Satan to attack Job, a good man who was blameless, honest, and upright? Because God uses our trials to strengthen, purify, and sanctify us.
God knows what He put within you and what you can withstand. He knows that though you may stumble, you will not be overwhelmed, because He is holding your hand (Psalm 37:24). Therefore, do not try to fix every problem, respond to every situation, or lose sleep worrying about how you are going to survive the attack of the enemy. Instead, place your faith in God, seek Him vigorously, hold on to His unchanging hand, and watch as He deliberately makes everything beautiful at the right time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
“The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But it does not sink deep into them; they believe only for a while but when the time of testing comes, they fall away.” – Luke 8:13 GNT
Our faith must be constantly renewed, protected, and managed. If not, we run the risk of losing it - the one thing that can help us navigate the darkness that surrounds us during times of uncertainty, anxiety, and lonesomeness. Now faith is the assurance of the things we hope for and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). But it becomes difficult for us to remain faith filled when all we can see are setbacks and sorrow around us.
There have been many times in my life where I felt like abandoning my faith. Times when I did not see the value in trusting God, as my world was crumbling around me. Maybe that is where you are today - feeling that as time goes on, the hope you once had for a marriage, child, job, healing, recovery, or breakthrough is waning. We are often taught that faith is asking God for something and waiting patiently until He provides it to us. But I learned that faith is believing that God can do it even if He doesn’t do it.
For three years I asked God to have the criminal charge against me dismissed and I am now going on year four without any resolution, but I still believe that God can do it. For three years I prayed for a job and haven’t received one, but I still believe that God can provide. My family prayed for my uncle to be healed from COVID and he died, yet I still trust God as a healer.
Do not define your faith by a setback, poor result, or an unanswered prayer. Faith isn’t about receiving something from God; it is declaring like Martha did after the death of her brother when she said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (John 11:21-22). Martha asked Jesus to save her brother, her brother died, yet she still believed and had faith in God’s supreme authority.
Your faith, then, does not rest on human wisdom but on God's power.
- 1 Corinthians 2:5 GNT
The Grace To Go On
God does not always give us what we ask for. Sometimes the sickness ends in death, the womb remains barren, the relationship dissolves, the job lays you off, and the rent isn’t paid. That doesn’t mean that God has forgotten about you, that He doesn’t love you, or hasn’t heard your prayers - it means that He is going to provide you with the grace to withstand your disappointment.
When we don’t receive what we have been asking God for, the enemy uses our disillusionment to separate us from God. He wants to rob us of our faith because he knows that it is impossible for us to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6). So, he encourages us to place our faith in people, money, material goods, and things that make us feel good, but ultimately, leaves us hopeless. Remember, there is no relief in the words of the devil.
When the time of your testing comes, do not fall away. You may be disappointed, afraid, and apprehensive, but still believe that even now God can save, heal, deliver, and redeem you. Your situation and circumstances are in God’s hands. Trust and believe in Him and He will renew you.
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