Do you truly believe that a loving God sovereignly controls your circumstances? When things don’t go your way, you are tempted to respond as if things were controlled by other people.
Sometimes God will step back and wait to see how much you believe. He may decide that it’s better to transform your heart and mind about an issue instead of giving you exactly what you want. When God doesn’t seem to be changing your circumstances, perhaps He is asking you to change.
There will be times when you’re tempted to think He has deserted you, let you down, or failed to come through for you. Practicing faith does not mean that you will always get the outcomes you want. He doesn’t promise an easy, perfect, or pleasant life. You don’t typically grow in faith while relaxing in your comfort zone.
Hebrews 11 is known as the “Hall of Faith” chapter in the Bible. There are certainly many examples of positive outcomes where faithful servants conquered kingdoms, won great victories, and gained what was promised. But in that same chapter, there are also many faithful servants who were tortured, imprisoned, and died a martyr’s death without seeing deliverance on earth.
Were some more faithful than others? No. They were all “commended for their faith” (Hebrews 11:39). Their faith was not dependent on how their circumstances appeared at the time. They all lived “by faith, not by sight” ( 2 Corinthians 5:7 ).
Worldly success does not always indicate faith, and the outward appearance of failure does not indicate lack of faith.
God’s wonderful plan may not always appear wonderful to you initially. It didn’t feel wonderful for Joseph to be sold by his brothers, live as a slave, then be falsely accused and thrown in prison. It didn’t feel wonderful for Daniel to be in a hungry lion’s den all night. It didn’t feel wonderful to Job to lose his family and possessions. But in hindsight, it was all necessary for them to become living testimonies of God’s power and faithfulness.
It takes faith to believe that a difficult situation will ultimately bring about good, even when it looks like it might cause pain in the moment. Surrender means submitting to even painful circumstances if they are needed to fulfill His purposes or bring Him glory. That level of sacrifice doesn’t come easily. Even Jesus agonized over God’s plan for Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Have you come to the point where God can withdraw His blessings without your trust in Him being affected?