It’s second nature for some people to have faith and show trust in God. They somehow see the good in difficult people or trying situations. To them, the glass is always half full. You’ll often hear them say things like, “God will supply,” and, “Don’t worry, things will work out.” Upon meeting a person like this for the first time, you’d probably think their life has been pretty peachy—with very few problems and everything going their way.
It might surprise you, though, to discover that people with such exemplary personalities didn’t necessarily become faith-filled and positive because their lives floated along like a song. Many people have taken on this nature as a result of facing difficult, trying, sometimes heartbreaking and painful circumstances, and choosing to wait to see how God would come through for them—even though it sometimes took a while.
They may have fought battles with their health or watched their children battle an enduring sickness or lost a loved one. Whatever it was, these faith-filled people came out strong, courageous, and compassionate. I take my hat off to them. They give life and meaning to the word faith and show me that no matter how bad things get, God will be there to help me through; all I have to do is hold on to Him and to the faith I have received through His Word, which will keep doubts and discouragement away.
God promises, “All things work together for good to them that love God.”1 It took me a while to realize that the verse doesn’t say, “All things are always good” but that, “All things work together for good.” To me, that means that even though bad things do happen to all of us, God works them into the story of our lives to bring about good on our behalf, whether now or in eternity. When I take this approach, I also realize that we can’t thank Him for all the good in our lives and then blame Him for the bad things. It means we can trust Him through the bad and be absolutely confident that He’ll make our difficulties become something good, or through them bring something good into our lives.
The Bible is so full of examples of this principle, and I think it’s because God wanted to get this point across.
King David is one of my favorites. Imagine for a second that your big career plan was to be a shepherd, which from my vast knowledge of shepherding (and my vivid imagination) amounted to watching sheep eat for hours, fighting off the odd life-threatening beast, and fiddling on your harp. Then suddenly, you’re hitting the big time: you get anointed king; you kill a giant in front of two armies, the king, and your big brothers; and you become best buddies with the heir to the throne. At that point, if David was all like, Yeah, God’s really great, you’d know it was easy for him to say that.
However, reality hit later on when he nearly lost the kingdom (a few times), had his own son betray him, and had to face God’s punishments for some seriously bad choices. You know that when he praised God after that, he was doing it from a place where he knew exactly what it meant to trust God through ups and downs.
I was reading where King David says to God, “You are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.”2 In that psalm he’s desperately praying yet again for God to deliver him from his enemies, but he also knows and is confident in God’s protection and care, so that his faith is not shaken but is stronger than ever.
Faith is compared to gold in the Bible. And like gold, faith has high value. Faith that weakens when it is tested would be like having a currency with little or no value, which would be pretty useless. But like gold, faith is precious, rare, costly, and lasts a lifetime.
In my own life, I can look back at situations and events that weren’t easy to experience, or that I definitely wouldn’t want to relive, but I realize that if I hadn’t gone through the tough times, I would have missed some of the wonderful things that I gained along the way. Having this knowledge and experience has strengthened my faith and given me the assurance that no matter what emotional storms I go through, I know Jesus is behind them, waiting to shine through and give me exactly what I need to move forward with grace and strength, ready to face whatever else life throws at me.
(This article was adapted from a podcast on Just1Thing, a Christian character-building website for young people.)