The way Jesus works in our lives and the way He chooses to do things is often past our comprehension. It’s mysterious and usually takes faith and patience, because His timetable is often different from ours. Living the Christian life requires faith and trust, because we’re not the ones in control—Jesus is. We have to remind ourselves constantly that He knows best, that He does all things well, and that His priorities are often different and much more long-term and “big picture” than ours.
Even with all of His awesome promises— promises like, “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He [will] give you,”1 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,”2 and “If you have faith, nothing will be impossible for you”3 —we have to remember that we can do our part, but we’re not the ones calling the shots. We’re not the ones with the bird’s-eye view of the past, present, future, and master plan for eternity. We can put Jesus on the spot and we can harness all the spiritual power He has put at our fingertips, but ultimately it is His will that must be done. Jesus is in control, and He knows best.
It’s so important to keep an attitude of simple trust in Him, as otherwise we can struggle with so many questions when things don’t turn out the way we were hoping or the way we prayed they would.
There is so much in the Bible on this topic, as well as throughout the writings of men and women of faith from the past 2,000 years—and of course Jesus can also still speak to our hearts today. Every now and then it’s good to stop and reflect on the various reasons why Jesus works the way He does, why things don’t always turn out the way we’d like, why every prayer isn’t answered in the manner we had hoped, and why life is sometimes harder than we think it should be.
If you don’t strengthen your faith, life can seem pretty hard for no good reason. When that happens, you can start to feel that it’s your fault, that you must be doing something wrong, that Jesus must be displeased with you because He isn’t answering your every prayer as you want Him to, or that maybe the promises He’s given don’t actually work “as advertised.”
The devil is always trying to tear down your faith. His job is to try to get you to doubt God’s Word. I’d say that’s his numberone mission—and it started way back with Adam and Eve in the Garden, when he asked them, “Has God indeed said?”4 He wanted to get them to doubt God, and in that case his charms and half-truths worked.
In addition to the devil’s constant attempts to hurt your faith, you’ve also got human nature working against your faith, because faith defies logic by requiring you to believe in something that is unseen, for which you have no tangible proof at the time.
But the more you study God’s Word, the more your faith will grow.5
In time you will find many wonderful promises and explanations that answer age-old questions such as why it seems like God doesn’t always answer prayer. But the fact is that life, with all the difficulties and trials and times when prayers seemingly go unanswered, will continue to be a test of faith. It will always be so until we get to heaven.
Whenever things are rough, whenever you feel that they’re not turning out the way you’d hoped, when you feel your prayers aren’t being answered, when the trials of life are a little too much to bear, when the battle seems too long, when your faith is under attack, when you’re feeling weary and aren’t sure if you can take much more, climb up onto the rock-solid foundation God has provided for your faith through His many promises and encouraging words, and rest in that safe haven.
Don’t try to answer all of the devil’s lies and accusations yourself; let the Word answer for you. Take comfort, also, in the fact that this battle isn’t uniquely yours. It’s one that every Christian of all time has had to reckon with, and the answer is the same today as it has ever been—trust in God and His wonderful ways. You can’t figure it all out. Instead, encourage yourself in the Word and relax in the comfort of knowing that Jesus has everything in His hands. Rest in Jesus’ arms, let Him shield you and support you, and in God’s time the storm will pass.
Maria Fontaine and her husband, Peter Amsterdam, are the administrative and spiritual overseers of The Family International.