It doesn’t require faith when we have control of the situation

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him – Hebrews 11: 6

Ever since I was a little boy, I have been enamored with sports. I have spent a significant portion of my time on earth playing and watching sports. My favorite sports to watch are those that involves my football club playing, wrestling, and basketball. Actually the last game between The Golden states Warriors and The Toronto Raptors was a wide screen viewing with friends.

This game was supposed to have been an easy win for the Toronto Raptors, but it was not easy at all. In fact, the game was not decided until the final play. It was an up-and-down emotional roller coaster. One minute I was jumping up and down in excitement, and the next I was so frustrated that I had to pray just to keep from having an outburst of anger. As I sat there fighting through my emotions and wondering why I get so stressed watching these games, the Lord took the opportunity to teach me something.

In that moment, it dawned on me that I was never nearly as nervous or emotional while playing sports as I now get watching them. I have played in games where my team won by a substantial margin and games where my team lost badly. I have played in games that came down to the last play or the final inning, and in several of those games I was entrusted to take the final shot or throw the final pitch. I can’t remember one of those moments when I was as nervous or frustrated as I sometimes become now just WATCHING other people play.

What God impressed upon me is that I wasn’t as nervous when I was playing, because I had some control of the outcome. It doesn’t require faith when we have control of a situation. We all feel a little bit better when we have our hand on the ball, and we at least get to try to affect the outcome. However, in those moments when things are completely out of our control and we have no say in the outcome, we feel helpless. It is in those moments that we have to trust God the most.

The bottom line is that, as human beings, we want control. We want there to be a formula that, if we follow it, will result in life working out in accordance with what we think we deserve. But faith is defined as “confidence in what we HOPE for and assurance about what we DO NOT see.” That definition does not say, “confidence in what we KNOW FOR CERTAIN is coming and assurance about what we have already seen.”

There are parents who work diligently to raise up their children in a Godly way, only to watch those children make poor decisions that negatively affect their lives. There are devout followers of Christ who obey his commands, and what they receive in return is rejection and persecution from the world around them. There are loving and caring people who devote their lives to serving others, who still have to deal with loss and disappointment in their own lives. In all of these situations, it takes complete and utter faith to maintain trust in God, and to not venture down our own path where we have the majority of control. It takes faith in the midst of the struggle to lift our hands towards heaven and to say, “Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” It is one thing to trust God when we are still clinging desperately to our ledge of control, but it is quite another to have faith when we let go and feel like we are free falling towards the ground without a parachute.

I would be willing to bet that there are people reading this who have reached a point of desperation. There are people who have received poor news about their health, people whose marriage feels like it’s collapsing before their eyes, people who have lost loved ones, and so many more unfortunate circumstances of life that are outside of our control. Our natural tendency might be to just give up and quit, to throw in the towel on the good fight of faith. However, I want to pass on some good news today. It’s always those moments that we depend on Him the most in which God’s presence and grace are the most tangible in our lives. Throughout scripture we see people with their backs against the wall, who feel like there is no way out, and then God shows up in mighty ways. If you are going through a tough time right now, it’s not time to give up. It is time to press in. It is time to lift your hands up to God in faith and say, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” Your circumstances may have forced you to a place where you had to let go of that ledge and trust God. The good news is that you can, because He loves you and cares for you!

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Let God’s Amazing Grace Make Your Life Easier: Your Everyday Remedy

The key to having abundant life in Christ is living by God’s grace through faith. Because grace is His power working in us, enabling us to do whatever we need to do in life.

When we try to do everything in our own strength and leave God out of the equation, we just get worn-out and frustrated by our mistakes and failures. But when we lean on God, we actually enter into His rest and can enjoy our lives, no matter what our circumstances may be.

Hebrews 4:9-11 says, So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…

Now the rest of God is not a rest from work—it’s a rest in work. It’s partnering with God to do what He is calling you to do by His grace, and leaving the part you can’t do in His hands, trusting Him to do it. Hebrews 4:3 says it this way: For we who have believed enter that rest… So we start by believing.

Trying vs. Trusting

When I’m trying to believe, I haven’t entered God’s rest. But when I do believe, I have complete rest in Him. Living by faith is not a struggle—it’s rest. And you can enter into God’s rest in every area of your life.

I’ve discovered that the stress in my life is caused by the way I approach my circumstances and the attitude I have toward them. It was a turning point for me when I realized that the world will probably never change, but I could learn how to change the way I go about handling situations that are challenging.

One key to this is knowing that as believers in Christ, we are partners with God—we have a part, and He has a part in everything He calls us to do. When we don’t do the part we can do and we try to do His part instead, that’s when we live stressed-out with worry, fear, anxiety, frustration, no peace and no joy.

The reason this happens sometimes is because we think God needs our help. We meditate on the problem—rolling it over and over in our mind, worrying, trying to figure out how things should work out. It’s like we’re telling God, “I kind of think You need my help, and I’m not sure You can take care of this situation, Lord.”

We need to realize that worrying is useless! It’s like sitting in a rocking chair, rocking all day, wearing yourself out and getting nowhere. Trusting God means we give up worrying, reasoning, and anxiety and we enter into His rest with simple childlike faith—we live by grace through faith!