Challenging Faith

What are you facing today? Does life feel like one blow after another? You come out of one trying circumstance to be thrown into another one. You never know what the day holds, but thankfully you have access to the One who has all your circumstances under control. Your life may not feel like it’s under His control right now, but God does know what He is doing with you. He asks His children to trust Him in the good times and the bad for He uses them both to bring glory to His name.

As a believer, your faith will get challenged beyond what you think you can bear. Why? Because God is deepening your dependence on Him. He is preparing you for tomorrow. I am here to tell you to not lose hope! Keep looking up and believe.

The past five plus years have been very trying for me. God has placed me in what Zechariah 10:11 says is a sea of distress. In verses 11 and 12 you read, “(I) will pass safely through the sea of distress, for the waves of the sea will be held back, and the waters of the Nile will dry up. The pride of Assyria will be crushed, and the rule of Egypt will end. By my power, I will make my people strong, and by my authority they will go wherever they wish. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

If you can look with eyes of faith beyond your circumstances, you will (eventually) see that God is doing a marvelous work within you. In the past five years, I have questioned God, doubted Him, been disappointed, and even angry over what He placed before me. What I have found in all my woes is God hears me, sees me, and changes me from the inside out where I cannot deny the hope that lies within my tumultuous heart and soul.

God makes Himself bigger within me.

Five years ago, God called me to write. I became a published author last spring. (Check out my book under the Books tab in the menu.) Never in a million years would I have thought God would call me to write a book. I found writing out my story was a therapeutic time for God and me. I never realized just how much God loved me until I obeyed this calling, and how my life has His fingerprints all over it. This has challenged me to swim deeper with Him for I know He is trustworthy. God has anchored my soul to my Savior.

Fours years ago, God had me face fears that plagued me; fears of illnesses, doctors and death. The unknown scares me, so what does God allow? Breast cancer. Within this unknown time, God deepened His presence within me. It is marvelous to experience the Scriptures coming alive when you are scared. He never left my side. He allowed me to say that I am a cancer survivor!

It is marvelous to experience God’s Word coming alive when you are in a challenging time for any reason.

Three years ago, God disappointed and angered me. My son was getting married. Five months before the wedding, my daughter-in-law’s mom passed away at the age of 51. One day she was walking the dog, the next day gone. A brain aneurysm. No one saw that coming. “Lord, really?” I was beside myself. My son’s mother-in-law and I were going to be great friends. We had a lot in common. For the first several days after her passing, I ignored God. I did pray for the situation and the family, but I, myself, ignored God.

When life throws a curve ball, do you ignore God? You may still go to church, bring a meal to someone, pray, do the Christian thing, but do YOU ignore God?

Two summers ago, God worked deep within my heart. “Carol, it’s time to speak up for yourself.” Being the youngest of eight children, and being a quieter individual, it is easier for me to sit back and follow what others want. I have been told I am kindhearted. While this is a trait of Christ, it also can be a curse. I have to muster up some courage to stand up at times. It is so much easier to let others have their way. “Not this time Carol,” God said. He had me write a letter to my siblings about some hurts I had carried all my life. This caused great anxiety inside of me, but God was with me. I found forgiveness and encouragement from my siblings.

God is with you when He calls you to face your fears. God gives you the words to speak when He wants you to speak up. The Spirit will empower you to follow through in obedience. God sees to your heart and spirit, growing you up in your faith and becoming more like Him.

During this same summer, God had me challenge my husband in our marriage. We had allowed ourselves to get in a rut of routine. We needed a wake-up call for a new season was upon us, called empty nesting, along with retirement looming in the coming years. God prepares His children for the coming seasons in life. Rob and I are still finding our way as we get closer to retirement. We have found that we are not on the same page on a few things. Despite relational issues, I know that God is preparing the future. I can rest in the fact that He is preparing my tomorrow. God cares about relationships.

God has loving ways to get your attention so you will look to Him and depend on Him for your whole life. Study the Zechariah passage above. God reveals why He allows trying times to come upon you as well as what He does for you in the trying times.

  1. Because He is with you, you will pass safely through the sea of distress. Be comforted by this.
  2. God will calm you in the stormy waters. He holds back the waves. Remember He has control over this world and other people. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
  3. Humans are prideful. God will crush this in you. There is no room for pride in heaven. In my book, “God Hears My Heart,” I explain why Satan got kicked out of heaven because of it. Don’t miss out on eternal life because of this ugly sin.
  4. God challenges you because you have Egypt in you. Egypt represents sin. The rule of sin must be broken within you. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will help you to overcome sin in your life. You must follow Christ and obey the Spirit for this to happen.

When you are being challenged and your faith becomes tired and weary, remember that it is BY MY POWER and BY MY AUTHORITY that you will be victorious today. I can only say, today, for this is all God gives you and I. Tomorrow, you and I will give our day to the Lord and whatever He has for us, we can rise up for we know that God is with us, leading us by His Spirit and His Word.

Embrace the challenges before you. God is strengthening your faith as you fall more in love with Jesus, your Savior and Lord.

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