When I became a Christian I thought that everything in my life would be a piece of cake. I believed that once I turned my life over to the God of the universe who created all things, I would walk in this world with no problems; boy was I wrong. There were still problems in my life such as finances, health issues, employment, family, and other things that emotionally drained me. I began to get frustrated and really wondered if inviting God into my heart was the right decision.
For years I would see other Christians prosper or receive the promises that God had made to them but I didn’t realize or know that they too had problems, struggles, and trials and tribulations. But what separated us was how they responded during those times versus how I did.
I met a lady that was losing her business, a man whose wife was ending their marriage, and I was personally struggling with health issues that even the doctors couldn’t diagnose. I wore myself out trying to “do” something to change my circumstances. I would try to control, manipulate, and put myself on the throne of God where only He should be seated. After an exhausting effort and many years of disappointment I met a woman, (who I mentioned before) that helped me put things into perspective.
In our lives and by our nature we want immediate results. We don’t want to wait to see our circumstances change, we don’t want to wait for our blessings, and sometimes we just want to give up. But she showed me scripturally where no matter how hard I tried to “fix” things on my own, it was only the power of God that could and would do that.
She led me to many scriptures of waiting on Him, having patience in my circumstance, and how to leave things in His hands by giving up control and having faith. Faith wasn’t something that I had a lot of. If we’re honest not many of us do. But with God and through His word we can obtain that faith.
The Encarta Dictionary defines faith as “belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof”, and the Word of God in Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Although I had read that scripture time and time again it wasn’t until I was at a very low point in my life when I finally “got it.” There are so many scriptures that touch on the issue of faith and all of them are true, relevant, and powerful.
Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” And again in Matthew 21:21 “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” “and it will be done.” If He was not so convinced about the importance of faith why would He have used the same analogy two times in these scriptures? He wouldn’t.
So is it wise to trust Him? Absolutely. And what part do we play in the process or circumstance? The bible tells us in James 2:14 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” And in James 2:17 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Now does this mean that we have to wear ourselves out trying to earn our salvation? Not at all. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast.” So you see we are not required to earn our salvation by doing things but only by having faith.
Now when it comes to living out our faith and waiting on God I believe we are to be proactive through our circumstance. For instance; if we are waiting for a financial blessing or a desperate need to get out of debt, not only should we wait on God by having faith and praying for patience, we should do our part by not spending beyond our means. By getting rid of the things that we don’t necessarily need but always seem to want. Many of us make purchases that are impulsive and then realize that we not only don’t need it, but can’t afford it. Another example would be struggling with health issues. We can be proactive by eating better, exercising, and controlling what we allow to enter our bodies. Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and eating fast food everyday will not improve our health status but only add to the problem. Now I’m not saying that an occasional dinner away from home is a bad thing it just isn’t good when we abuse it.
Faith and stepping out in faith go hand in hand; like a partnership. Great examples are found in the book of Hebrews Chapter 11. The entire chapter speaks about the great heroes of faith. One great hero was Noah. In Genesis chapter 6 God speaks to Noah about the corruption of men and how He will put an end to all mankind, with the exception of Noah and his family. He tells Noah in verse 14 “So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.” So Noah did all that God told him to do and he and his family were spared.
In Genesis Chapter 21 Abraham, even though he was past age (one hundred years old) and his wife Sarah herself was barren was enabled to become a father because of the promise of God. And when his son Isaac was yet a boy Abraham was told by God to sacrifice him. I’m sure Abraham was devastated but still stepped out in faith, trusted God, made the journey up the mountain, and professed that God would provide a lamb for the burnt offering. He, in the end was provided a ram for the sacrifice instead of sacrificing his son.
In Exodus 14:22 God’s people stepped out in faith and crossed the Red Sea and were saved from the Egyptians. They could have remained in Egypt but instead trusted God and were proactive in their salvation.
The greatest hero of all is Jesus. God promised him the most extraordinary thing and Jesus could have walked away from the agony, the trials, the mockery, the abuse; but instead stepped out in faith and had/has the ultimate victory. He had the power and authority straight from God, but yet He didn’t live for himself but for us. He is the perfect example of what it looks like to step out. We should throw off every hindrance and strive to do God’s will, seek His face, have faith through it all, and be proactive.
So is it wise to have faith and use our own initiative when it comes to waiting on God? I believe it is wise. Of course we shouldn’t be wise in our own eyes, boastful, or disregard what God wants us to do. That isn’t the kind of wisdom I’m talking about but instead James 3:13 says “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” Also in the following verses: Isaiah 3:10 “Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.” Isaiah 32:8 “But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.”
In addition to faith and initiative I think seeking out the council of other mature believers is also wise. Those that may have gone through what you’re presented with. See how they handled the situation; see what kind of initiative they may have taken. We may gain insight through others that walk with the Lord.
We should never stop believing nor should we stop stepping out through the guidance of God. The trials and tribulations of this world and our lives will always be present. However through those situations we can rest in the hope that “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) God knows the beginning from the end and even though a situation can look hopeless and we feel helpless, God is sovereign and will always accomplish what He has set out to do and can impart wisdom to us so that we know how to step out in faith.