This is week seven in our faith discussion. Looking up faith in Webster’s, I love this phrase, “a firm belief in something of which there is no proof.” Well, it’s obvious that we belief the Bible and the witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection sure do give us the proof we need that Jesus is alive and through Him there is life everlasting. This then leads into the next definition listed, “something that is believed especially with strong conviction.” I like that phrase, “especially with strong conviction.” That is the faith we must have.
But if we’re honest, sometimes our faith can waver, especially during the hard times or simply during those times when there are just some little problems. Jesus said is that it is our choice to believe in Him and trust in Him at ALL times. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 Paul said that we are to walk by faith and not by sight but again sometimes it seems as if God can’t be seen. In light of that it’s very important that we grow, develop, and strengthen our faith, because faith is expecting God’s best for our lives, especially when a problem or a bunch of problems hit us.
Again we need to understand what faith is not. Faith is not positive thinking. While positive thinking is a good thing, it’s limited in its scope and certainly isn’t faith. We may be freezing to death, but no matter how we spin the facts, no matter how positive we are, these thoughts are not going to warm us up. Faith also isn’t wishful thinking. It’s not saying, “I hope I don’t have any problems!” Good luck with that one. We’re all going to have problems and difficulties, and no matter how wishful our thinking may be, that reality isn’t going to change. Jesus makes that clear. Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We will have problems, but because Jesus has overcome the world through His death and resurrection, we know that we can overcome and wishful thinking will never do that. Faith is expecting God’s best. It’s the confident assurance that God is in control of the future and His plans for our lives are the best.
So let’s get to the basic question today, “Why should we trust God when so much bad has happened?” To answer that let’s look at one of the better known stories in the Bible. It reveals the faith of David and how we too can face any problem we also have, with faith. The story is about David and his battle with the giant, Goliath. Israel and the Philistines were at war, and the Philistines had a giant on their side. He was intimidating to say the least. The guy was nine feet tall. And so he would stand in front of Israel’s army and challenge them to a one on one cage match. This guy terrified the whole army except one small shepherd boy named David. While the rest of Israel saw Goliath as too big to fight, David saw him as too big to miss. You see, one plus God equals winner, and when God is on our side, how can we miss. Here’s what we learn from this story about faith:
1. It Honors God
David’s attitude can be seen in what he said to Goliath. “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel…for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:46-47 Don’t you love it if your kids or grandkids brag on you? Well God loves it when we brag on Him because He really can do everything. William Carey, a great missions man said, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” This type of faith honors God.
2. It Strengthens Our Faith
Expecting God to show up increased David’s strength and ability. David had the strength to hurl a stone and have it sink into one really hard head. God gave David the strength, courage, and ability to accomplish this task because of his faith.
The story says David picked up five stones, did David lack faith? Read the story and God didn’t say he’d kill him with one stone. Also, David was being prepared if there was trouble after Goliath died and the Philistine’s didn’t honor the winner take all idea. When we act in faith, God will give us additional strength to face the difficulties and giants in our lives.
3. It Encourages Others
The Bible tells us that after David defeated Goliath, it encouraged the rest of Israel and they attacked and beat the whole Philistine army. The entire nation of Israel was energized and encouraged by David’s faith. That’s the power of faith. That’s what you can do and will do when you show your faith when faced with your problem.
A Gallop poll found that faith brings optimism. They discovered that people who have the greatest faith are some of the happiest people around, and the most helpful. We all face giants in our lives. They can be financial giants, medical giants, or relational giants. The question then becomes, “How can we expect God’s best when everything seems to be going wrong? Let me share with you three that I have found in the Psalms. This is how you are to face your problems.
1. Tune Into God
Expect God’s best when the world is caving in and you do that by tuning into God, and the best time to start is in the morning. We all have morning rituals but I firmly believe it’s best to start our day with God. Psalm 5:3 “ LORD, in the morning you hear my voice. In the morning I lay it all out before you. Then I wait expectantly” Those are David’s words, that’s what he did in the morning. My guess is that he started his day talking with God before anybody else. I hope you don’t start your morning like the great theologian Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh as one day he was looking at himself in the stream and said looking at himself, “Pathetic, that’s what it is, pathetic.” He then walked to the other side of the stream and looked again and said, “As I thought, no better from this side.”
Pooh came and greeted Eeyore and said, “Good morning Eeyore,” Eeyore replied, “Good morning, Pooh Bear, if it is a good morning, which I doubt.” Some people are just like Eeyore when they wake up in the morning. Instead of saying, “Good morning Lord,” they say, “Good lord it’s morning.” We have to get up in the morning expecting God’s best for our lives. We have to get up and enthusiastically greet the Lord. Think about it, if the alarm clock wakes you up then you wake up alarmed and not waking up to a great day the Lord has made.
Then it just gets worse when we turn on the news. And so if we haven’t got enough problems during the day, here we are waking up and adding the whole world’s problems to our own. How smart is that? Instead let’s start our day with good news. Let’s open up our Bibles and get tuned into God first. Let’s read His promises and talk with Him and allow Him to talk with us. Studies reveal that our moods are determined in the first 10 minutes of the day. So let’s start our day with the Lord. Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” The second thing we need to do to expect God’s best is:
2. Think on God’s Promises
Joshua told the children of Israel to meditate day and night on God’s word. The Psalmist tells us that this is absolutely vital even in our darkest times. Psalm 119:95, “The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your decrees.”
When we keep the promises of God throughout the day, it will help us face the threats that come. In fact, they’ll keep us from going down the wrong path. Psalm 119:11, “I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.” We need to memorize Gods’ word and bury it in our hearts so that when we need them we can make a withdrawal. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.” God always keeps His word, and with over 7,000 promises in the Bible, there’s a lot to give us confidence and assurance that we’re going to make it, because God who promised, is faithful. The third thing we need to do if we’re to expect God’s best is:
3. Trust in God’s Love
When circumstances look bad or depressing, we need to trust that God has our back and that He has our best interest at heart. When trouble came against King David and threatened to swamp his life, he knew where his hope lay, he knew to trust God’s love. Psalm 42:11, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” When David has problems, he talks about it getting better because of God’s love.
Saul questioned David’s ability at the battlefield and David said in essence: “Don’t worry. God’s got my back. He’ll take care of this giant, just as he helped me to kill a lion and a bear.” If you are going through difficult times, and we need to remember what God has done knowing that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So let’s ask God to show us those times He’s helped in the past and expect Him to do it again.
When things don’t make sense, let’s start with what we know as true about God. Know that God so loved us that He sent His Son, Jesus to die for us. Let’s trust in that unfailing and unconditional love. We might not know what’s going on around us, or why, but one thing we can trust is that God’s got a plan and a purpose and He’s working all things out for good for those who love Him in return. Let’s approach this life with faith in God, and then we can expect God’s best. Let’s move forward by faith expecting God’s best for our lives, through tuning into Him, thinking on His promises, and trusting in His love.