Last Friday was an interesting day. I dropped my article off at the Record office, came home, and the telephone was ringing as I unlocked the door. A man’s voice said, “Don’t be alarmed . . . I have your son at the hospital.”
Surprisingly, I was not alarmed. He went on to describe a minor accident at school, painful for our son, but not serious. This incident followed on the heels of the article that I had just given to this newspaper. It appeared with the following title, FAITH IN GOD’S WORD KEEPS OUR KIDS SAFE but that title did not match what I was hoping to convey, making me realize the importance of clarity.
So I will say it again -- faith in God’s Word can keep us from going into a state of panic during the crisis times, when the circumstances of life are unpleasant. However, contrary to what the headline may have suggested, faith does not prevent the unpleasant from happening.
Maybe that is what we would like to believe . . . something like, “I’ll just trust God and everything will be the way I want it.” The Bible doesn’t guarantee that. In fact, it says we should not be surprised at trials and problems, that they will come . . . and all of us will have them.
What God’s Word does say is that we can have confidence and even rejoice in those trials because they have a purpose. God is not allowing them out of vindictiveness or indifference, but uses them to develop qualities that make Christians more like His Son. That is not only our goal, but our eternal destiny. (1 John 3:2)
Our faith then, is not a hopeful escape from the realities and pressures of life, but a gift from God to help us meet them head on. In those trials, God supplies the needed strength, wisdom, courage, and even joy to carry us through the trials and out the other side with even greater conviction that our God is entirely sufficient for these things.
I would not want anyone to think, “If I only had more faith in God’s Word this would not have happened to my child.” What pathetic theology that would be to the MacMillans, the Wilgoshs, the McClenaghans, or any other suffering parents. They, and all of us, need to know that faith in God is not a guarantee of a disaster-free life, nor is faith to be measured by the lack of pain that we go through.
Faith is simply the means by which we KNOW that God is not being unkind or indifferent to our sufferings, nor are they dropped on us haphazardly. And Biblical faith is not something we can conjure up, but is a gift to us: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Our responsibility is to read it, and to respond to trials by placing our lives and the lives of those we love, into the Lord’s care, fully trusting that He knows what we do not know, that He sees what we cannot see, and that His peace is available, even in those trials.