In our journey of faith, the path often presents challenges—some of which test our very foundations. As Christians, we strive to grow deeper in our relationship with God, but sometimes life’s hurdles can make us feel like we’re regressing rather than progressing. Let’s explore four common faith testers and how we can confront them.
1. Battling the Shadows of Doubt
While doubt seems to challenge faith at every turn, it’s essential to remember the biblical accounts, like that of Peter who momentarily walked on water. Peter’s faith wavered when he shifted his focus from Jesus to the raging storm (Matt. 14:30). Similarly if our problems loom larger than our faith in Jesus, it becomes a potential pitfall. The antidote? Always keep your gaze on Christ.
2. Overcoming the Chains of Substance Abuse
My personal battle with marijuana made me question my salvation repeatedly. But God, in His infinite patience, guided me through. Whether it’s alcohol or another substance, the struggle can be overwhelming. Remember, admitting the problem is half the battle won. Seeking help and support can break these chains, letting us grow in our faith rather than feeling eternally shackled by guilt.
3. The Peril of Self-Isolation
Recently, I spoke to someone who felt overwhelmed by shyness, making him feel out of place in church. He likened his journey to a “lonely path”. This reminds me of the giant sequoias in California. Despite their towering presence, they have shallow roots. But these trees thrive by interlocking their roots and branches with each other. Just as the sequoias find strength in unity, we too must lean on our faith community. Remember, alone we falter, but together, we soar.
4. Wrestling with Illness and Disease
Facing serious illnesses, such as cancer, can challenge our understanding of God’s goodness. These times call for a perspective shift. While the pain and uncertainty are real, believers can find solace in God’s eternal promise. Even in the face of life’s most harrowing trials, our faith can find strength in the assurance of God’s sovereignty.
As we navigate our faith journey, it’s imperative to be cautious of becoming stumbling blocks for others. As Paul pointed out, “take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Cor. 8:9). Let’s strive to lift each other up, clearing the path for a stronger, unwavering faith.