How to Have an Enduring Faith
Tragedy struck on July 19th at Table Rock Lake in Missouri. The Coleman family enjoyed taking family vacations once a year. They were a tight-knit family that were just looking to have a fun day as a family. They decided to take a Duck Boat tour of Table Rock Lake when the unimaginable happened. A storm blew in while they were still on the lake and the waves swamped the little boat… sinking it. A total of nineteen people lost their lives that day, nine of them from the Coleman family. One of the survivors from the Coleman family, Tia, lost her husband and three kids. Unbelievable. Unbearable.
The question I ask when I read stories like that is the same every time. How do you go on? How do you put the pieces of your life back together? How do you not give up on life… on God… on the future? For me, this is the difference between having a fair-weather faith versus a faith that stands strong in the storm. The first is an elementary faith. The latter is an enduring faith. The difference is significant. An enduring faith trusts God no matter what in all things, regardless of the circumstances. It is a faith that is built over time, day by day, experience by experience. We must prewire our lives by praying and living a life of faith daily so when the storms of life come we have previously carved out the spiritual habit of turning to God, relying on God and trusting in God. Scripture teaches us that there are 3 evidences of an enduring faith and 3 ways to grow one. We see this in Psalms 120-126; Hebrews 11; as well as in the lives of Bible greats like Joseph, Mary, Moses, Esther, and Jesus.
Here are three ways to grow an enduring faith:
- Trusting God when times are hard.
When you’re not in a storm, it is tempting to think that this may be simple. But when you’re in a storm and your boat sinks and you lose nine family members… it’s not so simple. Notice what Psalm 120 & 121 says about the Israelites. They faced great times of peril. They were enslaved, exiled, hounded and defeated by their enemies. They knew hard times. It is in those deep dark valleys that we see what an enduring faith looks like (Psalm 120:1, 121:1-2).
An enduring faith knows that God is still God when the storms blow and tragedy hits. Even in the midst of this, God is still good. God is faithful now and will be in the end. In this world we will have trouble and heartache, but we put our faith in God to take us through the storm, through the heartache, and through the trouble. One day we will enjoy Heaven – where there are no storms.
- Trusting God when life doesn’t make sense.
Sometimes life makes little to no sense at all. There is nothing about losing nine family members in a supposedly safe boat ride that makes sense. Life didn’t always make sense for the Israelites in the Bible. They were God’s chosen people yet they found themselves facing adversity and difficulty (enslaved in Egypt, trouble in the Promised Land, etc.). Yet through it all, they trusted God even when life didn’t make complete sense (Psalm 124).
One thing that impresses me about Psalm 124 and other passages like it is that while many people get mad, upset, or even disappointed with God when things go south, the Israelites seemingly always turned back to God. They made mistakes and their faith wasn’t flawless, but it was enduring. They continued to press in and have faith in God. The “Faith Chapter” found in Hebrews 11 is full of Bible greats who demonstrated enduring faith even when life didn’t always make sense (Hebrews 11:1; 29).
- Trusting God when hope seems lost.
Tia Coleman and her family need our prayers. They must feel – I can only imagine – that all hope is lost. Our heart goes out to them and breaks for their family. And yet, an enduring faith is a faith that trusts God when it seems like all hope is lost. Because with God, hope is not lost. There is always hope in Him. What seems like a dead end is not with God.
An enduring faith is honest and says the situation is bad when it really is bad. But an enduring faith also says “I will trust in God because He is my hope.” We know He loves us and will help us through to the other side. The Israelites experienced God’s faithfulness and so did many others in the Bible (Psalm 126; Hebrews 11:32-34).
Ask God to build your faith today. Where do you need to trust Him more? Give your hurts and pain and uncertainties to Christ. And would you also please be praying for the Coleman family and others you know who are going through a “storm-like” season in life? Let’s ask the Lord to grow in us and others an enduring faith. A faith that stands strong when storms blow hard.