by Carol Yasin
Have you lost hope in God? Are you suffering from Faith distress? Doesn’t know how to rekindle your faith? Have your prayers not answered? I was travelling in this boat once and often I do, but God is so faithful that He takes me out of it and places me in the ‘Faith-Boat’. I am not perfect. I often fell down and He sends me people and His Word to lift me up. He had taught me through various people and circumstances, how to stay out of ‘Faith-Decline’ and stay close to Him.
Our human faith doesn’t remain the same always. Mine doesn’t. It wavers always, when trouble comes. The faith which I had once when I was a child no longer exists now. My faith goes up and down in a graph, but His faithfulness remains the same forever. Sometimes we don’t know that our faith is getting declined. We never knew it. We might be a regular church-goer, reading our Bible daily, take part in all the fellowship activities, but still we may fail to notice that our faith is weakening. What are the signs which show that our faith is getting weakened?
- Blaming God for the things happening in your life
Sometimes, we mix God with our circumstances. When we experience bad things happening in our life, we start blaming God. We will start thinking that God is playing with our life. We end up thinking God is so cruel to let these things happen in our lives.
When I lost my first child in my womb, around seven months, my faith was almost shattered. I started crying loudly, “Why did God allow this in my life?” Often we lament as Jeremiah did, “He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship” (Lamentation 3:5). When you confuse the source of the trouble, you start blaming God for all the things happening in our life. Remember, He is the only one Who can truly help you and you are the apple of His eye. He is our refuge in times of trouble.
”The Lord is the refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” – Psalm 9:9
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” – Psalm 46:1
- Remembering the bad things happened in your life at times of trouble
When we are in trouble, we start remembering all the bad things happened in our life instead of focusing on what God has done in our past. It causes our soul to downcast as the weeping prophet says, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.” (Lamentations 3:19-20)
We push the ‘replay’ button again and again and start blabbering to our friends, relatives and everyone. We start thinking of it in our mind going over and over. Dear friend, if you are in such a situation, remember, you are not alone. Put your hope in God and focus on Him. You need to set your soul down, give it a good talking to and make it listen as David did, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar.” (Psalm 42:5-6).
- Struggling in your prayer life
When your mind starts confessing that the trouble comes from God, it’s when your prayer life takes a blow! Sometimes, our prayers might be worse than the non-believers. We start complaining, bargaining in our prayers and at times we get angry and shout to God. We start shutting our ears for His voice. We start complaining that God is not answering our prayers and He has shut His ears “Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer “(Lamentations 3:8).
When faith starts declining, we may unable or unwilling to pray. But pray anyway. He knows your heart. No one knows your pain better than Him.
- Being in a confused state
This is the next stage of Faith-decline. We start confusing ourselves and we don’t know where to go. We confuse our directions and we don’t know what decisions to make. We sometimes feel like God showed a way and He himself shut it. But, God is not the One who break His promises as men does. He has been faithful forever. God is not out to confuse you. He will make your path clear. Be patient and watch out what He is doing.
Now, we know how are faith keeps weakening. What are the ways to develop our faith? The first step is discovering the factors which decrease our faith and the second step is to start working on it and take charge of your spiritual life. Here are some lessons God taught me during my difficult times.
- Stay positive
To change our thinking is the first step in developing our faith. Get rid of the negative thoughts in your mind and the thoughts and imaginations planted by the devil. Take control of your mind. Select the right channel. Erase the bad memories. Remember the good things that God has done in your past. Don’t think of your trouble, instead focus on God. Think about God and His character. Remember your answered prayers and pray again, saying, “Do it again, Lord”. Practicing remembering the good things He has done for us will develop our faith muscles.
- Stay calm and quiet
Sit in silence and start listening to Him (Lamentations 3:28). Tell to your mind that you are not alone. Have a quiet time with God. Keep it regular. Find a place and find a time. Discover Him in the garden of your soul. Isaiah affirmed that “in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). The spiritual concepts of nourishment, satisfaction, strength, and confidence will be realized in ‘quietness’. Stay calm and stay with God.
- Forgive yourself
It was often hard for me to forgive myself. I was very sensitive and often sit with guiltiness and never take a step to come out of it and go to the next level. Are you guilty? Can’t you forgive yourself? If we are to cry to God and tell Him, whether He remembers the worst thing He has done, He won’t. Remember the love and patience it took for Him to show us His mercy and grace. He doesn’t forgive you partially, he forgives you completely. The problem is staying still enough and silent enough to allow God the chance to do His renewing work. Shift your heart from you to Him. This takes time and discipline. When it takes place, you will stop thinking about yourself.
- Believe in His goodness
We read in Lamentations 3:25 as, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him”
When I lost my first child, I went into a ‘faith-decline’ mode. I heard my relatives praying, “God, be good to the child”. But whatever happens, isn’t God good? God is good all the times. After losing him, one of my friends advised me never to ask ‘Why’ to God. This boosted me to come out of it and made me to get stronger in faith despite the bad outcome. Bad things that happen do not change the character of God. He is good always.
“Unwavering faith in God’s goodness is a display of faith that amazes the world and brings great glory to God” – Anonymous
- Stop Complaining
When we are persistent in God’s goodness, we will stop complaining. Are you busy complaining at this moment? Stop complaining. God wants us to put one of those up on the all our minds, too. It is very hard to be silent when we are in a tough situation. But humble yourself and submit to God and be patient, knowing that He permitted it. We always gripe and complain. It is natural. But remember that in the Old Testament, God constantly warns the Israelite’s to stop complaining. He says in 1 Corinthians 10:10, “Do not grumble…”
The spirit of humble submission to hardship will display a faith that is working in our life.
Whatever and wherever you are at any given moment of any given day, God is enough. Who better than God knows what we need? He knew us before we knew us. He will turn our mourning into laughter and sorrows into shouts of triumph. You’ll see, for He never changes. God bless!
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