circumstantial faith

You wanna hear some raw honesty? As I write this, I’m going through some very real depression. It hit me last week, subsided over the weekend, and now that I’m back at work and preparing for a business trip, it’s weighing me down again. It sucks, I’m working through it, and I have to trust that God is somehow using it.

What is constant is that trust. I know He’ll get me through this. If I wake up tomorrow still depressed, I’ll still believe that He’s got it taken care of. Why? Because my faith in Him is not based on what I’m feeling. Everything I feel right now is temporary. Sometimes I have to remind myself, but it’s still true.

What I’m aiming for is a faith that is not at all dependent upon my circumstances. It has to be anchored to something deeper.

When things are good, we tend to assume our faith will be good. God is providing financially. I have a place to live. I’m pretty healthy. My kids are obedient (usually). So my faith in God must be through the roof, right?

Maybe, maybe not. If you’ve got everything you need, that’s actually a pretty terrible garden to cultivate faith in.

Think of it like a muscle. Faith grows because we use it, and we use it because we need it. We often find little use for faith — in anyone or anything — when every material need has been met.

It is through adversity that faith is tested. Our faith muscle gets exercise when we experience trouble, difficulty, or need.

If that faith we have is only based on what we have or how we feel when things are going well, what happens to it when we run into the inevitable problems life chucks at us? We’ll crash and burn, and maybe even be mad at God. But if our faith is rooted in something more sturdy, then the trouble can show up and we won’t be shaken.

You always hear about these people with terminal diseases like cancer, and how they grew even closer to God as a result of the sickness. Well, there’s a reason for that. They were close to God in the first place. And they didn’t just come to him because everything was fine, and they were healthy. No, they rooted their faith in Jesus Christ, and not in their own circumstances.

You may have been through some crazy s***. You may have lost whatever faith you had, and maybe even determined that you’re now an atheist or agnostic as a result of some event or circumstance in your life. What was your faith hooked to? Was it attached to a particular church or denomination? Was it based on the relationship you had with a close friend or family member who ended up hurting you?

There was a guy in the Bible named Job (pronounced like “Joe,” but with a B at the end). He was close to God. He was healthy, had a big family. and a lot of wealth. Sounds exactly like the kind of guy who we’d expect to curse God if He took it all away, doesn’t it! Turns out, the opposite happened. God allowed Job to lose literally everything except for his life. His family died. He lost his home and material wealth. He got a painful skin disease that affected him from head to toe.

Still, he remained faithful. There’s a lot more to the story, but in the end, God rewarded Job’s faithfulness and obedience.

God is faithful. He’s good and He’s just. He may not necessarily restore health and wealth, but He does restore us.

What is your faith hooked to?