Voices of Religion: What to do when our faith falters? Look to God

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010

Six words changed Martin Luther's life and gave him a special place in history: "The just shall live by faith." Biblical writers repeated these words four times, underscoring their importance.

Luther learned that the life that pleases God 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 explanation of faith he had already studied for the ministry and even traveled to America to do missionary work but kept failing in his efforts to serve God until faith in Christ became a vital personal experience to him.

Faith moves mountains.But sometimes trials cause faith to falter.

Job's wife had no difficulty trusting God while her husband was healthy and wealthy and their children were alive and doing well. There is no record of one negative word from this good woman during their prosperous years. But her faith faltered when trouble came and disrupted their luxurious lifestyle.

Job responded to his wife's faltering faith with tenderness, telling her this was not like her, that she was out of character and talking like those who were foolish and faithless. Then he explained that their changed circumstances had not changed God nor His love for them; that He is trustworthy even when castles are tumbling and everything we've valued seems to be crashing down around us.

This is an important lesson to learn. When our faith fails, God doesn't.

In his 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 consume 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 trembling times!

Trouble comes to all. But when we have passed through these storms, our faltering faith has often become stronger than before it was tested.

Trials sometimes teach us that God is faithful even when we're dealing with doubts.

To quote Lehman again: "Storm clouds are not miracles, yet they often become the chariots of God. The commonest events are fingerprinted with traces of the infinite."

When we feel our faith faltering, it is time to believe our beliefs and doubt our doubts. God never abandons those who place their trust in Him.

Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years.



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