Faith is a choice (not a feeling)
March 7, 2021
He sat in ashes feeling utterly defeated. Once the envy of his friends, his life was now an object of pity. His immense wealth was gone, his children had died in a freak accident, his health was deteriorating, and his embittered wife told him he would be better off dead. For months, God remained silent as Job’s friends suggested that what goes around comes around. But despite his pain, Job ultimately decided that he would trust God.
Few of us have experienced Job’s exceptional misfortune, but most of us know the challenge of trusting God when everything in our lives is going wrong. It’s easier to believe things will work out when there are glimpses of hope in our circumstances than when there are none. Positive signs like a healthy job market, favorable response from a spouse, or some expression of interest in our work from someone give us a sense of hope or certainty that we sometimes mistake for faith. What we feel in those moments, however, is not hope inspired by trust in God but hope based on a rational assessment of our odds for success.
Christian faith is not based on our circumstances or our feelings or rationalizations about them. If it were, it would be unstable, changing from one moment to the next, with believers being positive and feeling hopeful when things are going well and vice versa.
Christian faith rests instead on the bedrock of God’s unchanging character, and that means it must and can endure unsupported by our feelings. The knowledge that God exists, that he is love, that he is present, that he is powerful, that he does not lie, and so on, is the firm foundation upon which every believer can stand and boldly face life’s uncertainties.
That means we do not have to feel faith to have faith; we simply need to choose it. To choose faith is to choose God. We choose faith most when we don’t feel like it because it is during those tough seasons that we most need to remember who God is.
“God may kill me, but still I will trust him…” Job 13:15 (CEV)