Living by Faith

Greetings from Northern California — home of the lightning, fires, distressing air quality, recent heat wave (temps around 106F), power outages, and starting yesterday, orange skies.

Yes, you read that right. Depending on where you live in the northern part of the state, the sky was anywhere from a red/burnt orange to a tan/brown color (which is what it was like where I live). No sun — it has long since been blocked out by the smoke — just bright, brown sky and ash on nearly every visible surface. Once again, we’ve had to shutter our windows and doors and hope that these terrible fires will one day be extinguished. I woke up yesterday morning to a brown sky raining down ash, the likes of which I have never seen in all of my 44 years anywhere. By all accounts, our skies may be like this for some time.

Ironically, these reflections bring me to today’s quote by Warren Wiersbe — I can’t help but wonder: how are we as believers to hold on to faith when everything around us looks bleak? I know that California surely has not cornered the market on tragedy by any means, but here is my question for you today: how do you refortify your faith in the face of overwhelming adversity (lest we forget, COVID is thriving here, too)? To borrow Wiersbe’s words, God can “change us to meet our circumstances,” even if He chooses not to alter them — what does that look like, practically speaking?

Today, I have questions and no clear answers. What are your thoughts? Have you been through a season where you sensed that the Lord was changing you to meet your circumstances, rather than the other way around? I observe that several such situations can be found in the Bible, but I am curious to hear about your own personal reflections on the topic, if you wish to share them. Thank you! 🙏🏾

13 thoughts on “Living by Faith

  1. I am in a heavy situation right now. It’s been effecting a lot of people. I keep asking God, “what am I suppose to learn from all of this?”
    I know every circumstance is apart of our spiritual growth and transformation. But, I pray it also means God will bring us out of this trouble. I am fasting and praying for not a miracle to happen for me, but for God to be glorified so others can see.
    I pray for your safety and health. I cannot imagine the difficulty you and others are facing. I pray God will send rain and wind to remove the fires. I am confident Jesus is with you in the mist of this furnace covering you. Be well my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Tiffany, for sharing your reflections here. Yes, it sure looks like “heavy situations” are all around, no? I am sorry to hear that you are burdened in this way and agree with your prayer — that the trouble would cease AND that God would get the glory in it all somehow.

      Thank you for your prayers. The air quality continues to deteriorate, and our neighbors to the north (in Oregon) are now dealing with the fires, too — such sad tidings!

      However, we know that the Lord is the Great Redeemer, and He will somehow makes sense out of all of this, even if we cannot fathom how.

      I liken what we are experiencing to the final book on the Narnia series, called The Last Battle. If you haven’t read it, you may want to check it out (I am enjoying listening to audiobooks these days).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How do we know these things as God’s knowledge is infinite. I would like to think it is all His way of teaching us. Teaching us to be happy/thankful in all situations. We are happy when we can see the sun, what about when we can’t? Teaching us to trust in Him. We trust him when we can see the sun, what about when we can’t? 🙂 Teaching us to have faith. We have faith when we can see the sun, what about when we can’t? I keep using the “sun” as the example because you stated how the sun has been blocked out 🙂 But we can insert any/all things into it’s place. It will have changed nothing but the wording, and added not one inch to our height 🙂 Maybe God is trying to get our attention? Maybe if we won’t listen to Him, do what He tells us, turn to Him, diligently seek Him, He will do what is necessary to MAKE us listen to, turn to, seek Him? If we are too busy to learn, too distracted, too…too…too…God can bring all that to a screeching halt and make a way for us to pay attention to Him. But again who can know the mind of God. 🙂 It is unsearchable 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, my dear sister, for sharing your heartfelt thoughts here. I sense the Spirit’s leading in every word and letter, reminding us to keep our gaze steadily (and gratefully) on the only One who holds the whole world in the palm of His hands.

      Yes, I think you are right about our being taught, and about getting our attention (and keeping it!). Thanks again. ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for posting this. I’m praying for all of you in California and neighboring states where fires are raging.
    When things look like they cannot get any more complicated or “bad”, I keep going back to the Bible where we are promised that God will never leave us nor forsake us.
    Thanks be to God!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your prayers! I am grateful for you.

      Thanks also for bringing everything back to a basic promise in God’s Word — He’ll never leave us (He did not promise that life would be easy, though!). ✝️

      Like

  4. “Have you been through a season where you sensed that the Lord was changing you to meet your circumstances, rather than the other way around?”

    Yes, yes I have. Our family left our comfortable existence for a new life. We didn’t realize just what God was preparing us for. We thought, as most do, God was just going to just add to our blessings. What we failed to realize was that God saw as we were, not as we thought we were. We had fallen for the lie in religion that the life of a believer is just to ‘do’ instead of ‘be’. We thought if we did all the right things God would be pleased. Boy were we wrong.

    As Jesus stripped us of all we had and left us homeless we had to face the reality that what God is after is us. He wants us to be real and honest before Him, just as we were when we were first born. The problem is we have a ‘self’ nature that hides from God. Jesus had to take us into the wilderness where it was just us and Him so we could see that ‘self’ and repent of it. He totally altered our circumstances so we would be faced with only one alternative, to change our character. Only when that process was well on its way did we understand what God was after.

    Jesus wants deep, intimate, mature relationship with us. That doesn’t happen overnight and can’t happen if we nurture ‘self’. God had to change our circumstances so we could no longer rely on man or ourselves so we could see just what a broken stick our ‘self’ nature really is. By doing this God changed us.

    There is a terrible pride in our ‘self’ that thinks the world revolves around us. That thinking keeps us away from God and in a rut. When we face the fact that God is the center and we to be in His orbit our world is rightly aligned. Now it took homelessness for us to figure it out but we did.

    We found Jesus is far more interested in relationship than we ever realized. We also found out just how far He would take us to build faith and trust in Him. As long as our circumstances are good I can tell you our character will not change. It is only when you come to the end of yourself so you realize just how much you need God. Our testimony is proof of this.

    So in your world, and in the world in general, God is shaking the foundations of how we ordered our lives. It is unpleasant, uncomfortable and unfamiliar. He is breaking the hardpan of our lives in order to get us thinking, why is this happening. When we start really digging into this question we are going to find God at the bottom, shaking our dependence on the created so we can start trusting in the Creator. To let go of the familiar so we can walk the unfamiliar path of uncompromising faith. Few will do so but some intrepid adventurers will. When they accept that God is shaking their world to break off that which can only hinder they will find God waiting to bring them into deeper intimacy with Himself. So in the end God is changing us by changing our circumstances … if we let Him.

    Blessings to you,

    Homer Les
    Uncompromising Faith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Homer, all I can say is “wow!” I thought I knew part of your testimony, but this is the first time that I have heard the full account, beginning to end. It is a sober reminder that God is not in the business of playing games, and that He takes our relationship far more seriously than most of us realize.

      We sometimes lose track of the reality that “tough love” parenting does come from a place of love, even though we do not understand it, and there is much pain involved. I think that this level of understanding takes time to develop, as the wounds begin to heal.

      Someone I once knew likened God to a surgeon who must would deeply to remove all traces of infection that otherwise would overwhelm us. Or, as the doctor must use heat to cauterize a wound in order to ensure that proper healing can take place, without infection or reinjury.

      Yes, walking with Jesus is serious business, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Psalm 81 was brought to my mind as I read your post:
    6 I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots. 7 Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder

    I especially think of the words, “I removed his shoulder from the burden.” What strikes me is that God does not remove the burden.
    God always delivers, always redeems. Yes, He changes us in our circumstances. That’s why He orchestrates as He does – He’s a miracle worker!
    I think we all have our “wilderness wanderings,” our mountaintop experiences, and our valleys. He is so good to us, and so loving; that’s why we can always thank Him in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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