Broken legs hurt, job losses hurt, the death of a loved one hurts, but can faith hurt? I thought faith was meant to make us feel good? Well if that is the mindset you began reading this article with, than you only have half the picture.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Faith has two dynamics working at the same exact time. Faith brings healing. We know that “…by his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).” We also know that faith brings suffering (2 Timothy 3:12). Faith, when you have it, will bring these two things into your life.
We need both though. Every time I have felt pain because of something God has called me to, it isn’t my faith that brought pain, but in reality it was my disbelief that God was enough, could provide enough, and was able to meet all my needs when I needed them met that brought me pain.
So faith won’t always lead you into flower gardens, sometimes it will lead you into thorn bushes. The thorn bushes as I hope you discover are in you, despite whatever is around you.
There is a pain that can be inflicted on you because of faith. All throughout the centuries people have been burned at the stake, fed to lions, and beheaded for their faith. Their pain came from the direction of those without faith though.
Lack of faith in God’s character is what introduced sin, and with it pain and suffering in the garden when we ate from the tree we were commanded not to. Physical pain is so small compared to the internal pain that comes from our distrust, anxiety, and the internal pain that feels like a dagger is being driven in our souls.
Faith that Activates
You really don’t discover the power of faith before you enter a trial, you discover its strength in the middle of trials. When you are in the middle of a situation God has put you in that doesn’t make sense and you have to trust God to bring you out of it, faith is being activated. When you are slandered because of your faith, and you realize the power of faith that keeps you steady in your convictions. When something happens that totally changes the plan you had for your future, faith has to activate to trust God enough to bring you into a better one.
The act of believing is painful though, because for faith to work, it has to be in a situation that can only be solved by God.
When Sarah was told by God she was going to have a baby but she was so old it would have been medically impossible, faith was being activated (Genesis 18:10). When the Israelites were backed against the Red Sea and God told Moses to raise his staff over it so the Hebrews could walk through, faith was being activated (Genesis 14:16). When you have no job and every door shuts in front of you every time you look, but you remember, “and my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philipians 4:19),” faith is being activated. When every other option but God is exhausted, then you are in a position for your faith to activate.
Anyone that has been there before knows that faith is painful, because faith can make you feel stupid. Faith can make you feel like your crazy. Real faith won’t shut up though. When you believe God is who He says He is, nothing can erase that from your vision, despite what your circumstances look like.
The Timing of Faith
Faith doesn’t always find it’s healing before your trial is over. As a matter of fact, your trial isn’t over until faith finds its healing. You have to believe God before He acts. Anyone can believe in hindsight, but He calls us to find His still small voice in the middle of the storms of our life (1 Kings 19:12).
When you can see the storm around you but believe it doesn’t change who God is, you quit wrestling with your circumstances and listen to that voice that says, “Cease striving and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”
When you quit fighting and start surrendering faith can reach it’s fullness, which says not after, but in the middle of trials, that these storms won’t blow away my joy and my peace, because I know who God is not later, but now! When you reach this place, you will have gone through the pain to reach your ultimate destination, which is your healing.
Faith that Hurts: Article by Chase O'Dell - Founder of Bridgeway Ministries