We don’t like being put in situations out of our control. However, in life, we are often confronted by times when others have control, or circumstances are out of our control.
If we are fatalistic or feel powerless, we will let ourselves be swept along, hopeful things turn out alright. If we are determined to be in control we will strive and manipulate to protect ourselves and steer the course, however possible.
If we are resentful we will be angry at others, or jealous, or full of self-pity.
Since, as Christians, we are to ‘live by faith’ each of those situations where things are out of our control is the perfect place to establish our reliance on God and trust in Him.
A friend used the phrase quite a few years ago that those moments when we are powerless are Where Faith Begins.
If we are in control, there is no need for faith. If we have our own insurance processes or contingencies, then there is no need for faith. If we are happy to let happen whatever happens, then there is no need for faith.
But if we claim God’s promises, and are confident God will come through for us, our Faith is activated.
Faith is silent and unseen, so maybe it would be helpful to imagine something more obvious. Imagine faith as a chainsaw in your hand. You carry it around, slung over your back, but never used. When you come across a fallen tree you can clamber over the thing, or work your way around it, or give up your journey altogether. Or you can pull the chainsaw off your back, prime it and start it.
At that moment there is a huge racket as the chainsaw kicks into life. With that machine in hand you look at the fallen tree quite differently. Suddenly you are not powerless or a victim of circumstance. Now you can tackle the problem with real power.
So it is with our faith. We all have faith, but we may often leave it slung over our back, unused. When we face a problem we might choose to struggle over it, or to try to work around it. Or we might even give up and look for something else to do or somewhere else to go.
However, take our faith in our hands, prime it and kick it into life, we can look at the problem or situation with completely different eyes. We don’t have to give up, or struggle. We don’t have to lose time figuring out a way around the problem. We can tackle the problem with the power-tool of faith.
We recognise from the Bible that faith can be in different measures. Jesus scolded His disciples saying they were or small faith.
“Jesus said to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea causing a great calm.” Matthew 8:26
So people have different sized faith. That would be like people having different sized chainsaws. Those with the bigger chainsaw can tacking a tree differently to those who can only trim the twigs.
So too with our faith. Those who are strong in faith can take on giant issues, while those with baby faith are more limited. But in either case, the power tool of faith is on hand. And our faith will grow as we use it and are encouraged that God answers prayer and comes through for us.
A person learning to use a chainsaw looks at a tree with delight. At first they might not be so wise about what to cut and how to cut it, but the feeling of power and the delight in seeing results is there nonetheless. When they hear of a fallen tree needing to be dealt with they are keen to grab their chainsaw and get to work.
If there is need to cut a path for others through some dense timber they look forward to succeeding at the task.
So it is with us as we build our faith. We don’t see problems as things to run away from, but things to tackle. We feel confident about our ability to employ faith to engage the work of God on the problem. We are happy to tackle problems for others as well, since we know we have the capacity to help them.
Our entire outlook on problems and challenges is changed, once we know we have the power to tackle them effectively.
So let’s go back to the problems you confront. If you have normally tackled them with your own strength, or just put up with them, or worked around them, or walked away from them, let me remind you that you are missing out on engaging your faith.
Those problems are Where Faith Begins. They are God’s gift to prompt you to learn how to look to Him, stand on His promises, believe God’s Word, trust God for the outcome and see God come through for you.
Maybe you could even face a problem that is confronting you right now, and then, using your imagination, see yourself pulling your faith chainsaw off your back and kicking it into action. See yourself looking at your problem with all the power and wonder of God’s promises and God’s grace in your hands. Now, how does that problem look?
Tackling issues from a faith perspective is the way you are meant to live every day.
So rejoice in all those things that are out of your control, knowing that each one of them is Where Faith Begins.