God Will Surely Come To Your Aid:
Faith Amid Affliction
-Bishop Ola Ajayi
The Bible defines faith as belief in what we cannot see or clearly understand and confidence that what we hope for will come to pass.
Amid affliction, we exhibit faith when we believe in God and all his fullness—that which we cannot see—even though we have misgivings about him.
We exhibit faith when we trust in the wisdom and logic of his grand plan—that which we cannot clearly understand—even though we dislike its details.
We exhibit faith when we rest in the knowledge that all the goodness we currently desire is waiting for us in heaven, even if it never materializes on earth.
Faith in God is a choice, not a feeling.
It is a decision to rely on God based on what he has revealed about himself through nature and in the Bible.
It is not an affection that fluctuates according to what we might infer about him from our momentary blessings or persistent adversities.
Steadfast faith is a series of decisions to rely on God, not an unwavering buoyancy.
Faith in God is an active dependence on him, not a passive assertion about his dependability.
Claiming that our parachute has been properly packed is a passive assertion in the skydiving plane. Faith is jumping out the door in a freefall.
Declaring that God is good is a passive assertion when life is easy. Faith is declaring him to be good when suffering abounds.
The object of our faith is more important than its certitude.
It is better to have tenuous faith in the almighty God than resolute faith in a lie. Jesus said even a little faith in God is enough to move our mountains.
We can harbor doubts about God during distress and still exercise faith in him. We simply need to take him at his word despite our feelings and act accordingly.
The absence of doubt is not a prerequisite for faith in God. But a disregard for doubt accompanies our decision to trust him.
Faith is to reborn believers what finding second wind is to marathon runners.
Instead of quitting the race at the first sign of fatigue, marathoners keep running until new energy enables them to maintain the same pace with more comfort and less distress.
Amid affliction, faith sustains us through the resulting doubt and anger until our subjective feelings coincide with the objective evidence of God’s goodness and benevolence.
We frequently exercise faith in everyday life.
We may not understand ergonomic engineering, but we sit on chairs without checking to see if they are structurally sound because we trust the proficiency of the furniture designers. That is faith.
We may not understand the interplay between aerodynamic force and body force, but we trust that Airbus engineers know how to balance lift, drag, and weight, so we fly in their airplanes. That is faith.
We may not understand how acetylsalicylic acid interacts with our body to reduce fever, pain, and inflammation, but we trust the expertise of the Bayer scientists who formulate it, so we use their aspirin without reservation. That is faith.
We may not understand why God lets us suffer, but we know he exists, he is present with us, he recognizes our plight, he cares for us, he has the resources to help us, and he has promised to come to our aid.
Therefore, we trust he will help us endure our afflictions, produce goodness from them, and resolve them in accordance with his highest purpose for us and those in our orbit.
That is faith.
Our faith in God wavers when he fails to meet our expectations.
But what underlies our disappointment? An uncaring God? An inept God? Or faulty expectations?
God’s promise to come to our aid during distress evidences his compassion. The sophisticated functionality of the universe attests to his competence.
Our distrust stems from faulty expectations, which arise from an incorrect view of God and suffering.
Conversely, faith in God is the logical response to an accurate understanding of him and his provision for affliction.
Fortunately, God does not require us to exhibit strong faith during distress before he agrees to help us.
Childlike faith is sufficient.
Childlike faith believes that God’s word is his bond. It trusts that he will come to our aid amid affliction simply because he said he would.
Childlike faith matures into strong faith over time with proper nourishment and exercise.
God supplies the nourishment as we walk in harmony with him. Afflictions present the exercise opportunities.