When I was about 8 years old I read this verse: MATTHEW 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” I was at church and I was standing on the softball field by myself looking out at the mountains. I believed that God was able to do what He said and so I began to tell the mountains to move. I stood there and prayed in my heart and in my head and watched those mountains just stand there. No movement, none at all. I began to wonder if I lacked the faith of a tiny seed or if God just wasn’t hearing my prayers. I never doubted that God could move the mountain, but I certainly wondered why He didn’t. God had failed me, or I had failed Him by having too little faith. Fast forward to college on a mission trip in Chattanooga, TN. We went to have breakfast with a group of widows. They would meet and have prayer together. This little woman began to pray and as she prayed she began to say, “God I’m not asking You to move these mountains, I’m just asking for the strength to climb.” I’ve never forgotten that prayer. I’ve often asked The Lord for the strength to climb since that day. Here’s why I think we feel God has failed us so many times.
I’ve lost loved ones unexpectedly, I’ve had many lost job opportunities throughout the years, as well as many big opportunities that I’d prayed for that didn’t work out. And some that just came to me that I wasn’t even looking for and I got excited about them and they ended up falling through. I’ve talked with some pretty big name people in the Christian music world that gave me advice and made some promises that never came to fruition. I’ve hoped and prayed for things that I’ve never gotten and I’ve struggled to pay off debts even though I felt I’d made wise decisions. I’ve prayed for things for others that didn’t work out the way I wanted them to work out and I’ve asked God what seems like a million times to send me guidance and I felt like I didn’t get an answer…not to mention needing friends at times when there wasn’t one to be found. God had failed me over and over and over again. That is…if He promised to give me everything that I asked for right when I asked for it and to get me what I wanted to make me happy. If that is what He promised then He did indeed fail me at times. But rest assured He never promised us that we’d get what we wanted, when we wanted it. As a matter of fact when you look it over it sure seems He has some spoiled kids doesn’t it? I’ll go even further to say that I don’t find anywhere in The Bible where He promises that we’ll be “happy” all the time here on this earth. I won’t elaborate on that right now. I’m going to try to stick to this one point. Why does it “seem” that God is failing us?
I think the disappointment comes because we know and understand that God is just that…GOD. He owns everything, He controls everything, He is in charge. Nothing is too difficult for God. There’s no amount of money that He can’t provide, there’s no amount of healing that is too hard for Him, there’s no situation that He can’t fix. We read about Jesus walking the earth and touching and healing and providing for the needs of others. Calming storms, healing sickness, creating food, walking on water, even raising the dead! Then why can’t He see that I need work or that my friend needs healing?!? Maybe we have missed the point. Maybe this life is really all about the next life. Maybe we need to look beyond what we want when we’re praying and ask God to reveal to us what we need to be praying for. Or maybe we are spoiled, selfish children and when we don’t get what we want we feel God has failed us. That sounds harsh but is probably true in many circumstances. Even if that is the case, rest assured that God is not tired of hearing your prayers. He loves you. He’s patient and kind and He wants to hear you pray. He is listening to His children. We are imperfect and we’re imperfect parents. But He is not. He is perfect and long-suffering and no matter how we “feel” He will never and has never let us down. He’s not mad at us because we’re mad at Him. He doesn’t walk away when you yell at Him. He doesn’t hate that thing about you that you may hate or your spouse may complain about. He loves you perfectly. That is why He doesn’t give us what we want, when we want it. This life is all about the next one. Listen to Him as He tries to tell us that. (ROMANS 14:7-87 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, WE LIVE FOR THE LORD, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s).
Faith is more than moving mountains, it’s trusting He will give you the strength to climb (Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT SEEN.”) This thing called “Faith” has substance to it, but it can’t be seen or always felt, it must be believed with your head and your heart. It is not blind, it is solid because it comes from trusting God’s word.
Sometimes this life gets hard, but that’s so we’ll gain what we really need. (ROMANS 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that TRIBULATION BRINGS ABOUT PERSEVERANCE; AND PERSEVERANCE, PROVEN CHARACTER; AND PROVEN CHARACTER, HOPE; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.).
God has never failed me. It sure feels like He has sometimes. I can still think of times that I feel like He let me down. Yep, it’s true. Even now as I write this I can think of moments in my life that I don’t understand and that I “feel” like He let me down. Whew, it feels good to be honest about thatdoesn’t it? Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter how I “feel”, it only matters what is true. I can feel like 2+2 equals 6 all I want but it will always be 4. There will be times we may feel God has let us down but let me assure you He hasn’t. He loves you. He will never let you down. Look at Him hanging on that cross and remember that God loved you so much that He sent His own Son to die so that you could know Him and be known by Him. He won’t withhold what is good for you. (JOHN 3:16)
The TRUTH is He has never failed us. HEBREWS 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”). I hope you feel loved when you read that but even if you don’t feel it, that’s ok. It’s still true. Believe it and maybe the feeling will catch up with the truth.
By Jackson Bailey