GOD IS FAITHFUL
After teaching there for six months, my boss asked me to prepare some courses in Marriage and the Family for General Motors engineers because the company realized that an engineer couldn’t work at his best level if problems in his marriage and family were on his mind. He told me I could consult with any sources anywhere in the world. This assignment gave me instant credibility with people that I contacted and the opportunity to learn from some of the finest teachers in the world, which was just exactly what I had asked God to do for me.
Some of these teachers, with whom I came into contact during this project, later opened doors for me to study for a Ph.D. degree at Cornell University. He knew better than I where to get the finest training.
Once more, I learned that God is faithful. We can trust Him. Although God is sometimes silent, that never means He is not there.
I also believe God let my bank account dwindle to nothing because I really did not trust Him. At the time I wouldn’t admit, even to myself, that I didn’t really trust God. He waited until I was totally out of my own funds before He stepped in. He let me know that He could replenish my funds in His way and in His time.
Again, I asked God why He didn’t explain to me what He was doing. His answer?
Silence . . . but things were happening during His silence.
This experience helped me put my faith in the power of God. Perfect faith? Perhaps a few people attain it; the rest of us can work toward it.
As I look back over the years, I see that developing a real faith in our living God is one of the most important pillars that has sustained me. The events of life raised many unanswered questions. God was silent over and over again for long periods of time—even years—when I thought He should speak. There was sickness, death, financial problems, dishonesty, deception, and on and on. I wasn’t exempt. When God was silent, I often looked to human wisdom or human sympathy, which were both readily available.
The Bible says:
All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV)
We rest in this hope as we yield our lives daily to God by faith and as we experience the Holy Spirit’s control of our responses. If, for whatever reason, we turn away from a daily yielding of our hearts to the Holy Spirit, we begin to think or say things such as: Why me? Why am I being singled out? Is God punishing me? That’s what I get for trusting God. It’s not fair. What’s the use? Nothing turns out right.
These hopeless statements and questions are like a warning light on the dashboard of a car. It’s time to stop as quickly as possible and find out what went wrong.
The hopeful person will calmly wait to see how things turn out. This picture in the Bible of a hopeful person is entwined with faith, peace, and love:
Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5, NKJV)
If we put the Bible passages of Romans 5:1-5, Romans 15:13, and Hebrews 11:6 together, they tell us that walking with hope and faith while experiencing difficult times in life produces perseverance, character, love, joy, and peace.
But tough times do not always produce perseverance, character, and hope; it only happens when we put our faith in the Lord. Turning away from the Lord produces hopelessness, anxiety, worry, anger and rebellion. If that is our position, we do not benefit from experience, we only suffer when we go through it alone.
My first attempts at helping people go back to 1942. Since that time, I’ve listened to many stories of people’s problems. Pain, death, financial loss, personal inner struggle, family struggles, interpersonal struggles: no matter what the problem was, each one was resolved sooner or later, one way or another.
The way a person approaches problems depends greatly on whether he is hopeful or hopeless and whether or not the person is familiar with the work of the Holy Spirit. It also depends on whom you seek to please, and often our faith is illogical to bystanders in our world.
When a person is in the middle of a problem it is usually a major issue to that person. I’ve watched people who are as frightened over a minor scratch as others who underwent major surgery. I observed someone create as much of a tense, anxious emergency over a missing dog as came from another person’s son missing in combat. I watched someone become as uptight over buying a toaster as others over purchasing a house. I watched someone get as upset over losing a car key, as did another person whose car was stolen.
Response to the trouble that comes our way on any day will reveal our spirit, not cause it. If we fail to respond by faith and hope, we can always start over again. No one is perfect. God understands us and deals with us where we are now. The Bible says:
There is none righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10, NKJV)
We can’t change our past failures, and God will forgive us of those sins if we ask Him. But, all of us can let the Holy Spirit control our lives today and in the future. This hopeful opportunity can be a pleasant, stimulating experience. God has made us to improve our performance and to enjoy the process; in the middle of the process, we can see His loving plans come together in His timing.