Today Tommy Prince reflects on the importance of faith when facing life's difficulties- faith when we do not have the ability to see what's ahead.
“Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely; he sees and knows all the way you have trod.”1
Those are the first two lines of a hymn I sang many times growing up. Each verse of “Have Faith in God” promises that God is in the midst of, and responsive to, life’s difficulties: loneliness, unanswered prayers, pain, sorrow, grief, despair and failure. I have to admit that as a young person, I thought this was pretty simplistic. Surely life was more complicated, and there was more I had to do in facing life’s challenges than to have faith in God. The reality, though, was that I had not really faced that many struggles at the time I held those thoughts.
Having been on this journey now going on six decades, I have a different perspective. The directive is simple, but not simplistic. It does not mean that having faith in God in the midst of life’s difficulties is easy. Over the past few years, my wife and I have experienced some troubling times: extended, undiagnosed illness; unemployment; foreclosure; death of a parent.
Very often, in the midst of those struggles, I wanted to see and know where the path was leading. I wanted to see and know how God was working, what God was doing and what God’s answers were to my prayers. I wanted to live by sight, not by faith. I had it backwards. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, NKJV, it says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” God sees and knows our paths. Verse 2 of “Have Faith in God” urges us to wait on the Lord, trust his Word and be patient. That is not always easy, but we can count on God to be with us.
Faith is substantive. The substance of our hope for being able to face life’s difficulties is grounded in having faith, not in having sight, not in having the ability to see what’s ahead. We are able to face life and the challenges it brings because God is faithful to us, and our response to Him is to “have faith in God.”
Loving and faithful God, give us the ability to have faith in You in the midst of life’s difficulties, recognizing that faith in You is our hope. Give us grace to face all that comes our way, knowing that You see and know all the way we have trod and that we are never alone. Amen.
1 B.B. McKinney, “Have Faith in God,” Baptist Hymnal, 2008, page 508.
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