Have you ever doubted God’s ability to provide something in your life? Maybe it’s something as little as misplacing your keys, and not knowing whether they’ll show up. Or perhaps it’s something as big as being fearful that God won’t provide you with a future spouse. Whatever the case may be, God tells us numerous times throughout scripture that He is our Provider. Not only does He gives us what we need, but He faithfully allows us to wait on Him to provide in order to increase our dependency and trust in Him.
This week, I’ve been having a really emotional, doubt-filled mind towards God’s provision. I won’t go into details, but it did have a huge impact on my spiritual life. From fear to discouragement, I found myself in a place of complete and utter doubt that God was going to heal the broken areas of my life.
This isn’t the first time God has allowed me to go through this situation either. In fact, I’ve been dealing with this same issue over the past year and a half now, and for once, I thought I was completely healed and delivered from it.
Although the “problem” itself didn’t magically disappear on its own, my faith in the Lord was changed in such a way that could not have been done without going through a difficult experience. I’ve been learning over the last few years about faith, and in Romans 5 we see a clear indication of what faith is:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Notice how it says “ and not only that, but we also glory in tribulations…” You may be wondering, how can I be joyful, let alone glory in hard times? The reality is, any kind of tribulation or hardship is actually a catalyst for a stronger faith in the Lord. When we walk through the valley, we have two choices to make: a) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3: 5-6) or b) Trust ourselves, and fall into a pit of hopelessness, despair, and self-pity. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely chosen the second option far too many times until I came to realize there is only one solution that brings freedom. By making the Lord our focal point in times of distress, we can see how He uses those tough times in order to produce patience, perseverance better character, and a hope that never fails.
The first and best decision we could ever make during those hard times is to choose obedience to the Lord. I know, I’ve said this before and sometimes it may sound like I’m a bit of a broken record. However, obedience to God is the only way we can know we are walking in His will, and it brings us a comfort in knowing He is always faithful to bless our obedience. With that being said, we are all imperfect and fall short of meeting God’s standards. Sometimes, there may be sin in our lives that we may not even realize is hindering us from receiving the healing we’ve been asking for, which is why I would encourage you to ask the Lord what areas in your life need to be reconsidered.
For myself, it’s asking the Lord over and over again if there’s anything that’s in me or in my life that needs to change. I know in the past, I’ve struggled with thoughts of envy, lust, and pride with an eating disorder. However, I truly believe God has delivered me from that, ever since I asked Him to show me what was holding me down. There are still days where I do struggle with my old thought-patterns, but whenever I do, I know the wisest thing to do is to take those thoughts captive and expose them to the Word of God. “Is this thought true, pure and of God?” If it’s not, I know it’s coming from the wrong source or the enemy. If there are thoughts in my mind that make me feel ashamed, guilty or depressed, I also know these thoughts are not from God.
There are times though, when I do feel convicted about something in my life. Maybe it’s not having the right motives for my actions, or perhaps it’s allowing things in my life that I know are not beneficial to myself physically or spiritually. Whatever it may be, I know this is when I need to go to God in prayer and ask Him what it is that needs to change and ultimately ask Him to help me. All I can do is depend on His power and grace to save me from what I can’t do on my own. This is where trials and tests are necessary for our lives, to increase our dependence on the One who knows what’s best for us.
Is there an area in your life where you feel doubtful, even hopeless about something? May I encourage you to think about all of the times God has been faithful to you in the past? Sometimes, the best thing we can do in a hard season is to remind ourselves of all the times God has answered our past prayers. A great way to have a visual representation of God’s faithfulness is to keep a pile of something-whether it is a pile of stones or loose change, and each time God answers a prayer you can add to the pile. If you don’t have enough rocks or loose change, instead you can keep a diary of all the prayers God had answered. Keep in mind, God doesn’t answer our prayers on our time schedule, and sometimes there may be an unanswered prayer lingering in our lives for a long stretch of time. Nevertheless, do not be discouraged when prayers aren’t answered quickly. In most cases, unanswered prayer is actually used to prepare us for something bigger than we could have ever imagined, or sometimes it’s used to shift our focus from what we desire onto the desires of the Lord. God says in His Word, He will give us the desires of our hearts-so as we wait for Him to provide, we can be sure that He will be faithful to give us what we need when we need it.