“These were all commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 11:39)
No matter who we are, there will come a moment in every believer’s life when God doesn’t come through for us (at least, not in the manner we thought He should).
I will never forget my friend, Paul. He was young, vibrant, talented – and he had a heart for God. He was feeling the call to ministry – and it was my privilege to help him answer that call.
In so many ways, we were kindred spirits – often spending hours together talking about the deeper things of God – and how to apply those things in our lives.
I loved my brother, Paul. He was one of my better friends.
Which made the final chapter of his life so hard for me.
In his late twenties, Paul was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
But, no worries… we had God on our side. We had been looking for an opportunity to see a miracle in our lives – and this was our God-given opportunity to trust God, exercise our faith, and see God defeat this terrible disease. We just KNEW that God was going to heal our brother.
Days went by… and our brother was still deteriorating. We fasted. We prayed. We wept. We declared victory. We gathered around our brother and anointed him with oil (as mentioned in Scripture). We trusted in God’s ability to heal – and we declared it openly (and often). We did everything we knew to do. But nothing seemed to help.
We mustered all the faith we could… but, in the end, our brother slowly faded… and fell into the arms of Christ.
We were so devastated. Although we knew our brother had left his suffering behind, and entered into his eternal rest with Jesus – we were left to struggle with so many important questions…
What is the point of faith in God, if God doesn’t come through when we trust Him? Why bother to seek Him, if there is no reward for doing so? Why trust in what the Bible declares about healing, if we don’t experience it for ourselves, personally?
Maybe you have been there. Maybe you have applied faith… and “lost.”
I know this… at the end of all that questioning and wrestling, you run right into the God Who is there – asking the one question that matters most: “Do you trust Me?”
Having spent so much time questioning and wrestling, I have come up with this one thing…
It is not what God does for us that matters most… It is that we trust Him.
When we trust (and especially when we trust after a loss), God does something in us that is indescribable. You can feel His pleasure. You can sense His smile. You tap into something of His love that you cannot experience without trusting Him – even when it seems He has failed. You receive a measure of His grace that He reserves only for those who trust, when it seems that it was a really bad decision to do so.
We must all come to the realization that what God values most is not our morality, or our religious practices, or our efforts to please Him – what He values most in us… is our faith in Him. Especially, when we keep on trusting Him, though we may have a good reason not to do so!
That is the whole point of the faith chapter (Hebrews 11). And the culmination, of the writer’s inspired thoughts, is the verse we quoted at the top of the page.
Faith is not a magic formula to get God to do what we want Him to do for us… faith is an eternal commitment to His love and faithfulness – to whole-heartedly trust Him for what is best for us. True faith is the unswerving decision to say: God is able… but if He does not… I will still trust Him.
Prayer focus: God, help me to settle the issue of trust, in my heart… now and forever.