Have you ever struggled with God? If you are like most people, you’ve had those times in life when you wondered where God went. Times when God just wasn’t interested in your life – at least that’s the way it looked to you. Why is it that God works in the lives of other people, He answers their prayers, He’s there for them, but that’s just not the way it is in your life? Perhaps you can identify with David, the Psalmist, who wrote in Psalm 13:1: How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
I want to suggest something for you to think about. God may in fact be silent because He is building your faith. Think about it for a minute. First, your faith is extremely important to God. The writer of Hebrews tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). God wants our lives to please Him; therefore, He wants us to have faith. Our faith is important to Him.
Secondly, faith grows differently at different times in our lives. Do you remember when you first became a follower of Christ? If your experience was like many Christians, your relationship with God was wonderful. When you read your Bible you could hear God speak. When you prayed, God answered. When you went to church your heart was filled to overflowing. It seemed like you could reach out and touch God. That’s because God wanted you to know that He would be there for you. He was busy building faith into the life of a new believer and teaching you that you could trust Him.
But since then things have changed. Not in large, dramatic steps, but slowly in an almost imperceptible way. Now you don’t always have the sense that God is speaking to you as you read the Word of God. Not all of your prayers are answered in ways that you can understand. Even church isn’t as exciting as it use to be. What happened? What went wrong?
Perhaps nothing has gone wrong. It may simply be that God is building your faith in different ways than He did in the past. If God continued to work with you the way He did when you were a new believer, would you continue to grow as a Christian or become stagnate? The answer is obvious. God works with new believers in one way and with mature believers in another way. Go back to the passage in Hebrews that we read (Hebrews 11:6). That verse continues by saying, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. This verse is often used in the context of salvation, but the writer of Hebrews uses it in the context of believers who continue to trust God, even in difficult circumstances. What God wants from us is for us to continually seek Him throughout our Christian experience. It is the struggle of seeking for God that produces a mature faith.
So here is my suggestion. God treats all of us in one way when our faith is in its infancy, but another way after we have grown up spiritually. Infant faith needs constant reaffirmation; adult faith needs constant work. It is the testing of your faith that produces the spiritual results that God wants in your life. The Apostle James put it this way: knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (James 1:3).
When God doesn’t seem as close to you as He once did, it’s not because God doesn’t care about you. He cares and He’s still there. It’s just that God knows that for your faith to continue to grow, He can no longer spoon feed you the way He did when you first came to faith in Christ. Remember that He knows the best way for your faith to grow.
Stay in the Word