By Kaleigh Ward
When life gets difficult, I quickly discover that I have some serious faith issues. As soon as God’s goodness isn’t obvious in a situation, I begin to doubt that He is good… or that He is even there at all.
The impetus for my disbelief can be big or small.
When I was hospitalized in Guatemala one year ago with a severe illness, I quickly
began to doubt God, thinking to myself, “If God were truly there and He truly loved me, wouldn’t He heal me? If He truly had the power to heal, would I still be laying in this hospital? My parents love me and they would heal me if they could, but God says that He loves me more than my parents and that He has the power to heal, but He doesn’t. That doesn’t make sense. Maybe He’s not there after all.”
When it rained on my college graduation day and I missed out on some traditions I had looked forward to, I began to doubt again. I thought, “What good reason could there possibly be for torrential downpours on graduation day? God knows I love sunny weather and that this is a big day for me. If He truly is a good Father who gives good gifts like He claims He is, wouldn’t He have answered my prayers and blessed me with a beautiful day? I don’t understand!”
I doubt God so quickly that I am ashamed to even admit it. The ups and downs of my faith are exhausting. One day I believe Him because I can see evidence of His goodness. The next day, I don’t because He doesn’t seem to be working things out for good after all. Up and down. Back and forth. I hate it.
Lately, I’ve been praying that God would give me faith to trust and worship Him even in the midst of trials.
James 1:2 commands us to count it as a joy when we face trials of many kinds. I’m having a hard time believing God even exists in trials! How can I move from disbelief to outright joy? To start this journey towards joy, God opened my eyes to the fact that He is unchanging. Hebrews 13:8 declares that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Numbers 23:19, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 7:21, and James 1:17 all declare the unchanging character of God.
Perhaps this is the key to joy in trials: If I can stand on the Truth that God’s character is unchanging, then maybe my faith can remain strong when trials come! As soon as my eyes were opened to this glimmer of hope, I quickly realized a need for further revelation.
That is, if I am to stand on the Truth that God’s character is unchanging, I must first understand what that character is in the first place. His characteristics are constant… but what are those characteristics?
In the face of that question, I am struck by my need to know God much more intimately and personally.
If my faith is to remain unwavering in times of trial, big or small, I must recognize that God is faithful and unchanging. But if I am going to draw any real comfort from that revelation, I must also understand the nature of that character which does not change.
And if I am to know the character of God, I need to know God Himself.
Perhaps it is time to take my eyes off of what God is doing and seek who He is instead.
Perhaps it is time to stop focusing so much on the gifts He does or does not give and focus instead on spending time with Him so that I can know Him better.
Then, once I know Him and have experienced His character personally, I can build my faith upon the beautiful knowledge that His character does not change. Once I truly know Him, I will not have to doubt and question when difficulties arise, for my eyes will not be on the changes around me but on the One who does not change.
Join me in seeking to know God better– not what He does or why He does it but Who He is. Let us seek Him. Personally. Intimately. Fully.
And when life tries to shake us, dear sisters, let us stand on a faith in an unshakeable God.
My good friend Kaleigh is preparing to go on The World Race, a mission trip to 11 countries in 11 months, this fall. Check back for updates on her preparations, as well as updates from around the world over the next year! Follow Kaleigh’s World Race Blog. — Tiffany