We often hear sermons and teaching on how God wants to bless us, that He is for us, and that He is faithful to fulfill every promise He has given us. But let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard to believe because it’s hard to see. Often times, the situation we're in takes a turn for the worst instead of the better. Yes, we are called to walk by faith and not by sight, but practically, what does that look like. How do you keep the faith when your situation looks bleak? How do we continue to trust Him when we can’t make sense of what He’s doing?
The answer - by getting to know Him. In order to truly trust someone, you have to know them. It’s difficult to believe in someone’s ability if you don’t know their character and ways.
As I studied the Old Testament (it reveals so much about God's heart and character) I realized something - God fulfills His promises in the way that gives Him ALL of the glory. I'll use the story of Gideon as an example.
Gideon was one of the judges (protectors) of Israel. During his service he was instructed by God to go to war against Midian because they were oppressing the Israelites.
The promise: “The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”” - Judges 6:14-16
The plot twist: “The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’” - Judges 7:2 NIV
Long story short, God decreased the size of Gideon’s army from 32,000 men to 300 men. 300 men against 120,000 of the enemies soldiers!!! Those sound like terrible odds. There was no way Gideon’s army could have defeated the Midianites on their own, and that how God wanted it (Judges 7:2). Otherwise, they would think their ability was responsible for the victory. By fighting with only 300 men and winning (which they did after the 3rd battle) there was no doubt that God gave them the victory just as He'd promised.
God does this time and time again.
He promised Abraham and Sarah a son even though they were beyond childbearing age. It came to pass an Sarah gave birth to Isaac at 90 years old!
He told Noah to build an ark so His family and the animals would survive the flood. It took somewhere between 50-75 years but the flood did come.
David was anointed the future king of Israel at age 15 but spent years hiding in the desert to protect His life from the current King, Saul, who wanted to kill Him. But the promise was fulfilled and David became King at age 30.
Those are only a few examples. I share all of this to show you God's character. We live in a broken world but we serve a faithful God. He has ALWAYS BEEN faithful and will ALWAYS BE faithful. So understand that what looks like a set back is often a set up for victory.
In your life this may look like God instructing you to move to another city or state, when you don't have the physical resources to do so. Or it may look like Him revealing details to you about your future spouse and then you being single for seven years. Or perhaps, God telling you to give away something significant (money, possessions, etc..) or quit your current job to take one with that makes less money.
Whatever He calls you to do, it's going to require you to step out on faith. It may not make sense in the natural, but faith makes a fool of what makes sense. God's ways are not our ways, they're higher (Isaiah 55:8-9 ). Everything we are called to do, everything God has promised us is for His glory. As followers of Christ our lives are not about our comfort or convenience, they are (or should be) a testament to His glory and power (Isaiah 43:7). Stepping out on faith draws us closer to Him by requiring us to rely on His timing, strength, and ways.
I know it can be frustrating but this process is making you more like Christ. You may grow weary and want to take matters into your own hands but understand this - God's got you. He's not man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). And I know it can be tempting to "help God out" but God doesn't need your help, just your obedience.
His power is made PERFECT in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).