Have you ever had a boss, family member, or even a spouse that rarely complimented you when you did something well, but was quick to bring it to your attention when you made a mistake? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it – if that person was so good at noticing when you did something wrong, why couldn’t he or she try to catch you doing something right?
Maybe that kind of approach was intended as a backhanded compliment. They expected us to do things properly, so it caught them by surprise when we made an error. (At least we’d like to think that was the case.) Sadly, isn’t that how we view many of the things we utilize every day?
For instance, when we stick the key in the ignition and the car starts up, we don’t call our friends and throw a party. But if we turn the key and nothing happens, or we hear only “click-click-click,” we’re ready to call the manufacturer, the dealership, the car repair service, or anyone who’ll listen to our complaints.
Cars are supposed to start. When they don’t, it catches us off guard. The same applies to TVs, furnaces and air conditioners, computers, cell phones and every other gadget we use on a regular basis. We take them for granted – until something goes wrong and we’re in crisis.
|If you notice your knee |
when it bends, that's not good.
Several weeks ago, while moving some boxes to my garage, I turned awkwardly and twisted my knee. The stab of pain I felt instantly told me I’d made a wrong move, although I wasn’t aware of doing anything unusual. Over the next days my always-reliable, never-causing-me-any-trouble knee hurt. It was a real pain in the…knee. I hobbled around, even having to miss several of my morning exercise classes. Ibuprophen became my buddy.
I felt my knee had betrayed me. Joints are to be seen, not felt. They're supposed to be taken for granted. When you’re conscious of your joints moving, something’s not right.
We tend to hold a similar attitude toward spiritual faith. Even if we claim faith is important in our life, we take it with the proverbial grain of salt. As long as things are going well, it’s easy to claim a strong faith in God. We say, “Thank you, Lord,” while patting ourselves on the back. But when problems arise, we wonder what’s wrong. “Lord, what have you done for me lately?”
Tough times reveal the genuineness of our faith. It doesn’t require a lot of faith when we’re feeling good, the bills are all paid, work’s going well, the car’s starting, our family’s in harmony, and the house is warm and cozy. But what happens to our trust and confidence in God when things aren’t going the way we want?
Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” I don’t believe God brings adversity into our lives to watch us squirm. But He allows hardships because through those situations we’re reminded how desperately we need Him.
Another verse, Hebrews 11:1, states “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We don’t need to hope for resolutions to problems that are already solved, or for things we already possess. The eyes of faith assure us God will do for us those things we can’t see.
A friend has struggled with cystic fibrosis, a chronic lung disease, since childhood. Hard work and perseverance enabled him to live far beyond the most optimistic expectations of his physicians. He got married, had children and established a successful business career, despite his severe physical limitations. Through it all, his faith remained strong, trusting God for healing.
A few weeks ago he and his family saw their prayers answered. He received a double lung transplant, and today is progressing well in recovery, hopeful of many more years of fruitful life, loving his family and friends, and serving his Lord.
His faith gave substance to his hopes, evidence of God’s promise to restore his health when the medical experts said it wasn’t going to happen. He’s a living example of faith in action.