September 19, 2023
It seems to be second nature for some people to have faith and show trust in God. They somehow see the good in difficult people or trying situations. To them, the glass is always half full. You’ll often hear them say things like, “God will supply,” and, “Don’t worry, everything will work out.” Upon meeting a person like this for the first time, you’d probably think their life was pretty peachy—with very few problems and everything going their way.
It might surprise you, though, to discover that people with such exemplary personalities didn’t necessarily become faith-filled and positive because life floated along like a song. Many people have developed this nature as a result of facing difficult, trying, sometimes heartbreaking and painful circumstances, and choosing to wait to see how the Lord would come through for them—even though it sometimes took a while.
They may have fought battles with their health, or watched their children battle an enduring sickness, or lost a loved one. Whatever it was, these faith-filled people came through strong, courageous, and compassionate. I take my hat off to them. They give life and meaning to the word faith and showed me that no matter how bad things get, the Lord will be there to help me through; all I have to do is hold on to Him and to that faith I have received through His Word, which will keep doubts and discouragement at bay.
God promises in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” It took me a while to realize that the verse doesn’t say, “All things are always good,” but that “All things work together for good.” To me, that means that even though bad things do happen to all of us, God works it into the story of our lives to bring out the best results as we yield to His will. When I take this approach in life, I also realize that we can’t thank Him for all the good in our lives and then blame Him for the bad things. It means we can trust Him through the bad and be absolutely confident that He’ll make our difficulties become something good, or through them bring something good into our lives.
In Psalm 86 King David says to the Lord, “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. … I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead” (Psalm 86:10–13). In that chapter he’s desperately praying yet again for God to deliver him from his enemies, but he also knows and is confident in God’s protection and care for him, so it appears that his faith is not shaken but is stronger than ever.
Faith is compared to gold in the Bible. And like gold, faith has high value. Faith that depletes when it is tested would be like having a currency with little or no value, which would be pretty useless. But like gold, faith is precious, rare, costly, and lasts a lifetime.
In my own life, I can look back at situations and events that weren’t easy to experience, or that I definitely wouldn’t want to relive again, but I realize that if I hadn’t gone through the tough times I would have missed some of the wonderful things that I gained along the way. Having this knowledge and experience has strengthened my faith and given me the assurance that no matter what emotional storms I go through, I know the sun is behind it waiting to shine through and give me exactly what I need to move forward with grace and strength, ready to face whatever else life throws at me.
Faith is knowing that God is looking out for you and that He won’t ask you to do more than what you’re capable of, which, when God is by your side, means there is nothing you can’t do (Philippians 4:13).
Patrick Henry was the governor of Virginia in the 1700s. He was also an attorney, an orator, and a politician, and together with his cousin he owned a 10,000-acre plantation. He’s mostly remembered for his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. But I read a quote of his which shows how highly he valued faith in the Lord above all his other accomplishments.
He said, “I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is the Christian religion [faith]. If they had that and I had not given them one shilling, they would have been rich: and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed.”1—Nina Kole
James 1:3 explains that God intends trials to test our faith and produce spiritual perseverance. … If we were to walk through life on easy street and never face hardship, our Christian character would remain untested and underdeveloped. Trials develop our spiritual muscles, giving us the stamina and endurance to stay the course (Romans 5:2–5). We can count it all joy in trials because in them we learn to depend on God and trust Him.
Faith that is tested becomes genuine faith, rugged faith, uncompromising faith: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6–7).—GotQuestions.org2
Just before I left for India, where I was going to spend a number of years as a volunteer, a friend gave me a very original and, I thought, useful farewell present. “I’m kind of worried for you,” she confided. “You’re going to a difficult country and this might come in handy.”
On the little box was an inscription that read: “The smallest gold coin in the world.”
I packed it away and took it with me to India, and later on to Nepal.
My friend was right—things weren’t always easy, and we often encountered hardships of all kinds, from the climate to tropical sicknesses to financial challenges. We never lacked any of our basic necessities, but we did often have to skip the extras.
My husband and I sometimes talked about selling the coin, but we’d agreed it was to be our emergency fund, and that it wouldn’t be touched unless absolutely necessary. Whenever the topic came up, we always came to the conclusion that it wasn’t really such a desperate situation, and I’d put it back in my suitcase.
After eight years, we returned to Europe, and one day I walked past a numismatic store and wondered just how much my gold coin had been worth all this time. A few days later, I brought it in to be examined.
My heart and everything in me dropped when the kind clerk examined my coin and told me that it had no value besides the gold weight—and as it was “the smallest gold coin in the world,” it obviously didn’t weigh very much.
So all those years when we’d thought we had an emergency fund, were we just being naïve? A mix of disappointment and embarrassment overwhelmed me, and I actually almost threw the coin away. It seemed like that would hardly be a loss.
But later on, I realized that little coin was symbolic of our faith. We’d kept it with us all the time; we’d never lost it. And as we walked by faith, God never failed to provide for us.
We still have the coin, and it’s now a treasured memento. As far as I’m concerned, it’s actually gained value.—Anna Perlini
Published on Anchor September 2023. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky. Music by Michael Fogarty.
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