There are many experiences in life that we have not experienced and, therefore, we are unable to understand how those experiences will impact our lives. Yet, God understands them all. In fact, His love for us is such that He is aware of every emotion, every pain, or anxiety that any issue or challenge produces in our heart.
It is at these unexpected moments when we are caught off guard that our faith and confidence in God is tested. It is in these times that we tend to forget who God is and the promises He has made to each of us. Promises such as “I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5, NKJV). Or His statement which says, “There is a friend who sticks [to adhere or cling to] closer than a brother” (Pro. 18:24, NKJV).
Sometimes I’m surprised at my own lack of faith in God when confronted with the unexpected. I have a lapse of memory concerning what Paul told the Thessalonians: “that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this” (1 Thess. 3:3, NKJV). What often happens is that we start living our lives from the circumstances we’re dealing with rather than from our position in Christ. We start looking at what the outcome will look like rather than how we’re dealing with the process, which really defines who we are and what we’re made of.
Depending on our level of faith in God, we will either turn to God for peace and assurance, or we start questioning God as to why He allowed these issues to come our way. We then set ourselves up as God by verbalizing how things should have been handled, as if we know better than God. Just a word of caution: there will be those times when your experience will contradict your theology . . . times when you come to realize you don’t know God, nor His word, as well as you thought you did.
Jesus knew His disciples failed to understand all He had just said to them—the news of His departure and of His approaching death; the announcement that one of their own would betray Christ (it pierced their hearts like a sharp arrow); or to hear that Peter, their spokesman, their rock of strength, their most prominent and boldest brother, highly beloved and trusted by the Master, part of Christ’s inner circle, would commit the deadly sin of denying their Master three times. It was unsettling to their spirits. The thought of these events was enough to scatter the disciples to the four winds.
Jesus knew that not only His disciples, but also each of us would be educated in the university of troubles, trials, difficulties, and adversities. To the disciples whose world was about to be turned upside down, Christ says, “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). God is saying that to each of us who are being tried by fire—who have been caught off-guard by heart-crushing circumstances—who are overwhelmed with loneliness, fear, and doubt—and whose dreams, hopes, and future have seemingly been shattered by the unexpected. We lose sight of life and the truths of God’s Words.
So, as with the disciples, Christ seeks immediately to fortify our hearts, to strengthen us against impending trouble, and to shelter us from every sorrow and perplexity that wastes no time in impacting our lives. How does Christ accomplish this? The fortification comes through faith in God. Christ says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe in Me.” We will all, on many occasions, be placed in a position where our faith in God is tested; it will be our faith that sustains us when it seems our world is falling apart.
Job’s perspective on life didn’t change until he beheld God as He truly is. Then you hear him say, “I know that you can do all things” (John 42:2, NKJV). Listen, God is trustworthy at all times no matter what the circumstances are.