This week in The Faith-Shaped Life, Ian Hamilton talks about the battle of faith that we engage in. There is a tension that we live under as we strive to live as the new creation we are declared to be, and the realities of the world that we are part of.
For we know (at least the Bible tells us) that God works all things for good. In Romans 8 tells that “For we know that God works all things for good for those called according to his purpose.” This is a big thing to contemplate.
It doesn’t say that God works some things, or most things, but all things.
The battle of faith that we engage in is… do we believe this? Do we honestly believe that God works all things for good?
What do we do when things don’t go according to plan? Don’t we often sit back and complain? Or just wish that somehow it could be different? Is that believing that what God says is true?
I find myself sitting back, thinking about how I react to what I see as adverse conditions. How my first response is to complain or to try to change things to what I want. It’s not good right?
How do I get to the point where I consistently see that God knows the bigger picture? That truly he does know how to work all the different things in my life to good.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (esv)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (niv)
28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (nrsv)
Choosing to believe
I find that sometimes it just a matter of making a choice. You know that God will work it to good, so you have to make a choice to shut off what you see and feel and look to God. It’s a matter of believing what you know to be true long-term instead of focusing on the short-term. Not saying it’s easy, because it’s far from that.
But it’s like I look at my bunnies right? I can make choice solely based on what I see in front of me, or I can decide to look at what I want down the road. I want to eventually have chocolate and blue tri-colours. That’s a goal. How do I get there? Is it by breeding the torts I have? Not really. Torts are not going to get me to tricolours.
Likewise in faith, if I focus only on my health and how sometimes I’m bone tired (without having a good reason to be so), then I fail to see (and act upon) the things that God has given for me this day. The ability to fold laundry, to chat with my boy, to encourage an international student, to work on my blog and so forth. I have to believe that God truly knows what I need to further the advancement of his kingdom and my growing more into his likeness.
Hopefully all that makes sense. At the end of it all we have a decision to make. Believe our circumstances and be stuck in them, or decide to look beyond them and know that the bible (and therefore God) is true. That ultimately is what the battle of faith is all about. Believe God to be true.