Six words changed Martin Luther's life and gave him a distinguished place in history: The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17). Biblical writers repeated those words in three other texts, underscoring their importance.
Luther learned that the life that counts not only begins but continues in faith. His discovery of this principle, appearing in his writings, later brought faith to John Wesley, who birthed the Methodist church and through him to millions of others.
When Wesley heard a reading of Luther's description of faith he had already studied for the ministry and had even traveled to America to do missionary work but kept failing in his efforts to serve God until faith became a vital personal experience to him.
Faith moves mountains.
But sometimes trouble causes faith to falter.
Job's wife had no difficulty in trusting God while her husband and children were healthy and happy. There is no record of even one negative word from this good woman when her children were healthy and doing well. But her faith faltered when trouble came and disrupted their luxurious lifestyle.
One day storm clouds moved in on Job's family causing Job and his wife to lose everything, including their children. Finally, Job became so ill that it seemed he would never recover. Overcome by her losses, this grieving woman blurted our her infamous cry for Job to curse God and die but Job responded to his wife's faltering faith tenderly, telling her she was out of character and talking like those who were faithless and foolish.
Then he explained that their changed circumstances had not changed God.
This is an important lesson for all to learn.
Faith understands that God is faithful even when our castles are tumbling and everything we've valued seems to be crashing down around us.
When our faith falters, God doesn't.
In his moving book "And There Are Those Who Weep," Louis Paul Lehman urged his readers to nourish their faltering faith in times of trouble by reading the Bible.
Lehman said it so well:
Examine the records someday. They will strengthen your faith The decree of Pharaoh cannot touch Moses; Goliath's laughter cannot frighten David; the flames of the furnace cannot overcome the Hebrew children; Herod's soldiers cannot touch the Babe in the manger; the storm cannot capsize the boat in which rides the Pilot of Galilee. Take hold of this knowledge. Hang on to it. You will need to know in some dark hour that God is still our God, and this truth will be a lamp to show that shadows are only made of thin images and are blown away with the dawn.
What good words for our trembling times!
Trouble comes to us all. But when we have passed through these storms, our faltering faith has often become stronger than before it was tested.
When we feel our faith faltering, it is time to believe our beliefs and doubt our doubts.
God never abandons those who place their faith in Him.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years.