When Faith Struggles
Susanne Scheppmann

"Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:3-4 (NIV)

My faith struggles. It occurs most often when something happens in life that is beyond my understanding. My faith plunges to below sea level depth when I witness a natural disaster, a family tragedy, or another Christian's failure. In my humanness, I cannot comprehend the "Why?"

Regardless of my stinkin' thinkin,' God is faithful. Scripture states the following three truths explicitly throughout the Bible.

God is faithful.

"He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!" (Deuteronomy 32:4, NLT)

God always works in our best interests.

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. (Jeremiah 29:11, AMP)

God's ways are beyond our understanding.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).

So what do I do when my faith plummets? I need to look to the truth that is deeper than my human reality. I need to acknowledge this fact - my faith can only grow when I have to trust God without the benefit of understanding every aspect of His divine will. I also need to realize that faith fluctuates and I am not the only one that struggles with the issue of doubt.

A biblical example of a person who struggled with his faith is the disciple Thomas. Thomas spent three years with Jesus. He watched the Lord perform miracles. But still his faith floundered. Jesus never gave up on Thomas but kept encouraging him to believe and to trust.

So when my faith struggles to stay afloat in a sea of doubt, I will look to Jesus for support. I will readily admit that I do not understand the why of the situation. And I will accept that it is part of the process of growing my faith. I will hold onto our Key Verse as a faith preserver. "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:3-4, NIV).

If your faith is struggling today, join me in the journey of faith. We can walk in encouragement together knowing we are persevering and maturing and that one day our faith will be complete, not lacking in any area.

Dear Lord, at times my faith struggles. Help me to hold onto the truth of your Word. Allow me to remember my faith is in a state of growth in every circumstance. Grant me strength in my faith so that it may persevere and mature. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Birds in My Mustard Tree: When Faith Struggles by Susanne Scheppmann

Pierced By the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper

Visit Susanne's Blog

Application Steps:
Copy onto note cards the following verses: Deuteronomy 32:4, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 55:8-9, and James 1:3-4. The next time your faith feels shaky, read these verses to strengthen you. Ask God to reveal the truth of His faithfulness.

Are there certain areas where my faith quakes?

Do I feel guilty about my lack of faith at times?

Power Verses:
Romans 10:17, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (NIV)

1 Peter 1:7, "Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory." (MSG)

© 2009 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you....

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I needed this today. I feel like I am in a hole at times. Please pray for my faith. Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's easier said than done,I've almost given up,I've been in this rut since childhood,and I'm almost 50,every where I turn I run into rejection,pain,sorrow,guilt,and always some sort of turmoil strikes up in my life, the same thing goes on and on and on,I pray that God would help me but He's never yet taken away my misfortunes,Why is he not listening?! I guess I'll die not knowing what peace God gives,I guess I got a seat in the back row

Anonymous Melissa said...

This blesses me a great deal this morning. We received some bad news today and I will pray for my faith to not quake. I will get up and do the "next thing". Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you!
i was dissapointed this morning, but i read the daily bread "nothing can shake those who are secure in god's hands"
plus today's devotional.
very encouraging.

Blogger The Dogs said...

How timely. Yea God...

Blogger Becka said...

I struggled deeply with my faith after the death of a young family member. I had to continue to tell myself to hold onto what I know to be truth, even when what I feel seems overwhelming. I have a life mantra that works well for times like these, "Truth- not feelings."

Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this WORD! i was looking for something for a friend to encourage him and I was encouraged, too. Be Blessed!

Anonymous Judys said...

Absolutely amazing I will certainly be applying these words to the recent situation that i have just encountered and realize how important it is to stay focus in our Gods love and to know our purpose.
Thank you
those are some truly reassuring words

Anonymous Jessica said...

We truly are so blessed by God. I am so thankful to Him for His grace bestowed upon us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post Susanne

@the 3rd 'Anonymous' on the page - Sometimes, God's peace is knowing Habakkuk 3:17-19

It's easier said than done, but it's not impossible especially as you ask God for the grace to see the many opposites of rejection, pain, sorrow and guilt that he's placed in and around you, and that He's done for you. May His peace fill your heart...

Anonymous Zoe said...

Thank you... Your devotion is a blessing and very encouraging. May God continue to bless you and fill you with His presence, peace, purpose, and power. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Anonymous Zoe said...

To the "Anonymous" comment posted below that reads: "I've almost given up...Why is God not listening? I guess I'll die not knowing what peace God gives..." -

I can hear the pain in your words, it sounds like you've been through a lot...but make no mistake, GOD LOVES YOU and He does care about you, about your circumstances.

GOD LOVES YOU even in your suffering...especially in your suffering. And, yes, it is easier said than done, but trust Him no matter what your circumstances are for He is faithful and will deliver you. Satan is a liar. He is trying "to steal and kill and destroy your faith" (John 10:10). Satan will make every attempt and will use any (and all) circumstances in our lives to make us feel defeated, unworthy, and abandoned by God. Don't give the enemy that much power. Continue to seek the Word and Power of God, for His Power is perfect in our weakness, “My power is perfect in your weakness… That is why, in Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV).

I urge you, please don't give up. Determine to keep holding on to the One who "fearfully and wonderfully" made you (Psalm 139:14), for He loves you, He knows your pain, He is faithful, and He will deliver you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Please feel free to email me and I will be lifting you in prayer in the name of Jesus... mz1971@yahoo.com.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just what I needed today. My husband and I went in yesterday to the doctor for our second ultrasound.... 11 weeks pregnant with our third child. Unfortunately we received bad news...there was no heartbeat. I still don't understand because at 9 weeks there was a strong one. I know this is a test of my faith but I am struggling. I am printing off these verses as we speak. Thank you so much for posting these and please keep our precious baby in your prayers.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much fo preseting GOD's word in such a way that speaks to my heart and gives me such peace.

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