Every decision we make, whether good or bad, is deeply rooted in belief. When we are tempted to be greedy with our finances, we have to make a choice to believe that it’s better to give than receive. If we believe that’s true, we’ll act accordingly. If we don’t, then we’ll build bigger barns to house our stuff. When we are tempted to think that our marriage has grown stale and that we would be more fulfilled outside of it, we have to make a choice to believe that God has placed us together with our spouse. If we don’t, then we’ll quickly find ourselves on a dating Web site posing as someone younger and cooler than our true selves. When we are tempted to overeat and indulge ourselves, we have to make a choice to believe that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and should be treated as such. If we don’t really believe that, then there’s all the more reason for an extra piece of pie. And the list goes on and on.
Christianity is about believing, but make no mistake: believing is work. Problem is that many of us are working hard at the wrong thing. We’re working hard not to sin. We’re working hard to be generous. We’re working hard to read the Bible. What we should be working hard to do is believe in each and every one of those situations. We believe that in each of those individual moments, God’s resources of grace, power, patience, hope, and endurance won’t run dry. We believe in Him as the great supplier of what we need, and we do so one need at a time.
So what is the core of that believing? It’s not believing that nothing bad is going to happen, but instead focusing our mind and heart on God. That God is sovereign. That He is wise. That He is good. It’s not only believing in God’s power as much as it is believing in His character.
If all we do is trust God for a positive outcome, we are subtly implying that we, in our own infinite knowledge and wisdom, know what is best. That doesn’t mean we don’t pray specifically for healing, for an end to suffering, for whatever— we certainly do. But we pray undergirded with confidence not only in what God can do but in who God is. That’s really what we are choosing to believe. We are choosing to believe not so much that He would spare us from having hardship and pain, but if that is indeed what He chooses for us, He will be faithful to uphold us with His strength. Again and again.
But when you’re staring down the barrel of the proverbial gun of fear and uncertainty, you can’t help but think about the future. You can’t imagine having the strength to go through “what might happen.” But the truth is, you don’t have to.
Jesus reminded us to petition God for our daily bread. And when we wake up in the morning, to petition Him all over again for tomorrow’s bread. The choice to believe is one that must be made over and over again in a myriad of contexts and situations. When you’re on the edge of that thing that’s keeping you up at night worrying, you don’t have to believe about tomorrow. You only have to believe for today, and part of believing for today is believing God will help you believe tomorrow all over again. But another part of that belief is recognizing that in this moment—the one right now—you have the choice to believe. And that kind of faith is work. Hard work.
Taken from my book, Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God.