Some believers in Christ are taught that being a Christian is like having a golden ticket to a good life. They are told when we trust God and “stand on His Word” nothing bad will happen to us or our family (based on Scripture verses), that we will receive an instant miraculous healing in our bodies (based on lots of healing verses in the Bible), that our finances will be overflowing with abundance (once again, based on Bible verses) and…well, you get the idea.
Some of us have been told if these positive things don’t happen, it is because we either don’t have enough faith, or we are not using our authority in Christ. Now let me stop and say before I go any further that I believe God’s Word is absolute truth! Every Word of it! And I also believe we have been given the authority of Christ on this earth, no doubt about it! And I also don’t have full understanding of God and His Word, just like everyone else!
Back in 1985, our three year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, facing having her tiny left leg amputated and going through chemotherapy. I was convinced if I had enough faith, she would be healed. I told anybody and everybody she was going to be healed and not need the amputation. My thought process was the more I spoke it out in faith, and the more people I told, the more God would have to honor His Word and heal her. Our church also did forty days of prayer and fasting for her healing (along with two other women who had also been diagnosed with cancer).
The morning the amputation was scheduled, x-rays were taken, to make sure they knew exactly where to make the cut on her leg. I was sure someone would come back shocked, saying the tumor was gone, and therefore no need for the amputation or any further chemo.
That didn’t happen, and I can still picture her looking over the shoulder of the big male nurse who had taken her out of my arms to carry her back for the procedure, as she waved slowly to us. That memory still grips my heart and can bring tears to my eyes.
For a long time, I questioned what I did wrong that left my daughter still needing this horrible procedure which would affect her for the rest of her life. We also had some Christians telling us we must not have had enough faith, or that we needed to learn how to walk in more of our God-given authority. People were giving us books on these subjects to “help” us. (I look back at it now and think how awful a response that was from some in the Body of Christ!)
Guess what I have learned over the years? Faith is almost exactly the same thing as trust. As a matter of fact, in the Complete Jewish Bible, you will never see the word faith. It is always translated as trust. For example, Hebrews 1:1 says, “Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see.”
This has given me a whole new revelation which has answered so many questions in the arena of my “faith walk”, including when my daughter died.
I have always felt like faith is something I have to figure out how to have enough of, based on what I do. Things like, “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). I have to either be speaking out the Word or listening to someone preaching a lot throughout my day to build up my faith big enough to have no more problems. But I can never quite seem to get to the point where I do it enough to have that perfect life some Christians say the Bible tells us we are supposed to have. Anyone else ever feel that way?
When I realized the truth, that trust can be equated as having faith, it changed everything! I no longer had to figure out how to conjure up enough faith. I just needed to learn how to trust God more. I can do that so much easier!
And so the adventure began of learning how to trust my Abba Father God, which was essentially learning how to rest in my Daddy God’s incredible and extravagant love for me.
As I said earlier, rather abruptly, my daughter died (twenty-six years later from heart damage caused by the chemotherapy). Once again, I felt blindsided, because I truly believed God was going to heal her heart (either miraculously, or through a needed heart transplant). But this time it was different. My faith was not an audacious presumption that God was a genie to grant my wishes, using the Bible as my lamp to rub. This time it was based on a precious trust I had come to have, in knowing my Daddy God in a very deep and personal way.
When I asked Him about the fact that my faith was not met with the healing of my daughter, He gave me the most precious answer I could have had. (And it was not the Christian cliché answer, “He did answer your prayer because she is healed now in heaven.”) He reminded me of Hebrews 11:6, that without faith it is impossible to please Him. And He told me that my faith – my trust – had brought Him so much pleasure! Wow! I was amazed and in awe that I would bring God pleasure by how much I trusted Him with my daughter’s healing!
So let me summarize all this up for you.
- Faith is not equivalent to using God as a magic genie to grant your wishes for a good life, using verses from the Bible as your lamp to rub.
- Faith is essentially equivalent to trust.
- You can’t trust someone you don’t know. That means in order to be able to trust God, you must get to know Him. Deeply and intimately.
- The more you get to know God as your loving Abba (Daddy), the more you will know and experience His deep unconditional love for you, which makes it even easier to trust Him more, putting you in a wonderful circle of more love and more trust, aka “faith,” no matter what is happening in your life.
And the bottom line is, whether we like it or not, trust means unanswered questions. If we knew the answers, we would not need to trust Him. We would not have to increase our faith (our trust).
I want to encourage you to give God pleasure, by trusting Him more. Spend time with Him, in His Word, in intimate worship, in conversations with Him. The more you do those things, the easier it will be to believe that He loves you with an extravagant love so incredible, that He would give His own life in exchange for yours. Because that is exactly what He did!
With that kind of proof of His love, I think I can trust Him in this life to do what He knows is best for me. And so can you.
Remember those three young Hebrew men who were thrown into the fire, believing God would save them, “but if He doesn’t…”? What was that all about? Was it just an excuse in case they didn’t have enough faith (like those who tell us asking God for “His will to be done” is a cop-out for our lack of faith)? We will discuss this in the next article Is Faith Our Golden Ticket to a Good Life Part 2.
Gems from the Crown is a weekly blog from Crown of Glory Ministries to strengthen and encourage believers in Christ in their walk with God, especially in the areas of vision, authority, and identity. If you would like to have Gems from the Crown delivered directly to you, please click here.