Posted by: Derek Guyer | April 26, 2010

Evidence and Substance


Are you hurting? Troubled? Burdened?

We’re all hurting, troubled, and burdened from time to time. Sometimes, hurt is all some people seem to do. There is no one who is exempt from the pain and decay of this life. We are surrounded by the corruption of a fallen world. That truth escapes no one here.

What sets us apart from the mainstream, though,  is how we deal with those hurts, troubles, and burdens. There is a common misconception within the church and the world that “trials make us stronger.” That simply isn’t true. I regularly see that trials can create resentment and hiding. They can create more hurt, trouble, and burden. Why? Because most people don’t deal with the pain, the worries, and the weights of their lives.  It’s how we persevere through these trials that has the ability to make us stronger.

When problems come, we are often found hiding from them. We’re upset that we have to deal with it and are rarely ever found turning to God for hope, healing, and mercy. We hide behind our work, our spouses, our books, our tvs, our things, etc., and the problems are never resolved in our own minds and hearts. We shy away from the tough questions and hold onto an empty, battered faith. It’s a faith that says I believe that God is God, but I can’t trust Him with my finances, my children, or my life, because I saw what happened to my neighbor, my mother, or my friend. We don’t dig in and ask God to increase our faith and teach us in the midst of our pain. We run and hide from it. A response like that never makes you stronger. That type of response creates more worry, fear, and doubt. Those are not the things promised to those who have faith.

I’ve watched dying men and women praise God through their pain even up until their last breath. I saw peace in their suffering. I saw hope in their eyes. I’ve watched living men and women praise God through their pain even when it appeared there may be no end to it. I’ve seen the broken rejoice and the crushed rise above. How? 

How could one group of people be found running from the trials that were supposedly making them stronger and others persevering through them and actually growing stronger? I believe our lack of perseverance really comes down to a lack of faith in the God we claim to trust. Genuine trusting faith gives us the ability to do things we never imagined. It allows us to see beyond our circumstances. Faith gives us eyes to see a God who “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3 NKJV). Real faith gives hope that we won’t be in that position forever, but that we’ve been promised a rest. Faith reminds us that we’re loved, despite the pain. Faith, in it’s most beautiful form, is the proof of what say we believe.  

For this reason, I believe we’ve proven to not understand faith. This is unfortunate. I believe we’ve lost track of genuine trusting faith at its core. I believe the thing that many have called faith has proven to be rather empty. If we trust in a Holy God, won’t we prove it?

“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?”

James 2:14 NLT

Do you have faith? Really?

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

What would the people around you say about your faith? Is there substance? Is there evidence? If not, ask God to change it. Dig deeper. Ask the tough questions. He’s not hiding from you. You’re hiding from Him.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 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 1:2-4 NIV

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Responses

  1. My suffering, at least recently, has exposed some things about my character that I am ashamed of. The waves start crashing around me and I begin to sink. I persevere for a little bit, then start to question. Even in the middle of these trials, I think, “God has never given me a reason to question Him before.” But it doesn’t change my mind. If I allow myself, I go deeper and deeper into the darkness of doubt. Thank God for our Christian family and spouses that help to hold us up in times of doubt. Sometimes we need a slap in the face…sometimes a gentle stirring. In either case, God gives us what we need. Excellent words, Derek.

  2. My 4 year old daughter and I were making cookies the other day. When we brought them out of the oven, some of them were cracked and some were a little too brown around the edges. No problem, we made some icing and put sprinkles on them to make them pretty! No one ever knew when they ate the cookies that underneath the icing and sprinkles, they were cracked and ugly. That is exactly how we live our christian lives. We cover up the ugly cracks with pretty things; a nice car, a nice home, a pretty family, a good job. No one ever knows what ugly lies beneath because we are all so good at hiding it from the world. Most Christians are not set apart, we blend in perfectly. We make our God so small and everything else in our lives so big. Where is our faith and hope? I think we have to get knocked down pretty hard sometimes for us to realize what God has been saying to us all along. I pray that we would all be set apart, that we would deal with the ugly cracks instead of trying to cover them up with pretty icing and sprinkles. God can use us in an incredible way if we will allow him to repair our cracks for His glory!

  3. […] to the Roots of Faith I recently wrote  about the idea that faith has substance, if it’s real. I challenged our claims to faith and asked the question: “What would the […]


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