A few mornings ago my husband woke up stressed out. I felt for him; he had several big projects due at work, a key employee that was leaving the company in a matter of days, and some crucial responsibilities at an upcoming employee conference. And these were just the majors.
Like anyone in his situation would be, he was battling anxiety and discouragement. He was well-aware of the seeming discrepancy between God’s promise and His circumstances. When he looked at all the looming projects with one-less critical employee, it became difficult to believe that “God will take care of all of [his work] needs in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
Although the specifics of each of our situations may look different, the underlying attack from the enemy has been the same since Adam and Eve: Did God really say…?
And the really irritating part is, the enemy knows just the right time to ask it- when our circumstances look bleak and God’s promise looks impossible. What is your personal “Did God really say…?” struggle? Maybe some of these will resonate with you:
- Did God really say to win my husband over with the purity of my own life? (1 Pet. 3:1) Because, really, I can think of a much better way to get my point across.
- Did God really say that He knows how to rescue His people from trials? (2 Pet. 2:9) Because I’ve been in this pit for what seems like forever and I don’t see any relief in sight.
- Did God really say He would never leave or forsake me? (Hebrews 13:5) Because right now it seems like He’s nowhere to be found.
When God makes a promise, the temptation is to only believe it if it aligns with our current reality. Take Abraham and Sarah, for example. They were promised an heir from their own bodies through whom the Lord would bless the entire world. Decades later, they were still childless. Romans 4:19 says that Abraham had to face “the fact that his body was as good as dead- since he was about a hundred years old- and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.” Do you think they were tempted to stop believing God? Of course! In fact Sarah, in an act of desperation, gave Abraham her maidservant in hopes that she may be able to help God out a bit in fulfilling His promise. Ultimately, though, Abraham believed God. And this belief was enough for him to be counted righteous in God’s sight. Romans 4:20-21 explains it this way: “Yet he [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”
When God’s promise looks impossible or untrue given our current circumstances, we have a choice: we can stand in faith or shrink in fear. May we be a people who allow the time between God making a promise and fulfilling it to strengthen and refine the very thing that pleases Him the most: our belief.
Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1).