3 Ways to Know Your Faith Is Being Tested

3 Ways to Know Your Faith Is Being Tested

3 Ways to Know Your Faith Is Being Tested

Trials and tribulations are one of the few certainties we have in life. None of us can escape the peaks and valleys we encounter, and it’s easy to feel inadequate when sharing our trials, even to the point of feeling guilt and shame. We utilize some imaginary spiritual ruler we’ve created to tell ourselves our faith doesn’t measure up in comparison to others.

Trials and tribulations are one of the few certainties we have in life. None of us can escape the peaks and valleys we encounter, and it’s easy to feel inadequate when sharing our trials, even to the point of feeling guilt and shame. We utilize some imaginary spiritual ruler we’ve created to tell ourselves our faith doesn’t measure up in comparison to others.

James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

First, we must know we are not alone in experiencing these sentiments. We will all meet trials. Furthermore, without them it’s impossible to attain a more mature, steady, and unwavering faith. We long for a deeper connection with God, but often it takes those times when God feels furthest away, in our trials, to actually get there. I recently got to experience this truth firsthand.

Spiritual Grime Produces a Sacred Growth

I just came out of a three year stint of trudging around in my own filth and muck, constantly wondering if I was hearing God right. Everything felt like a test.

It started a couple of years ago when I thought God was calling our family to adopt. As someone who, up to that point, had never actually experienced “a call,” I was excited (and nervous) to jump on board. We found an agency, attended a meeting, even shared the news with family and friends. We had barely begun the process when it felt as though God abruptly put it on hold.

Around the same time, I had a doctor throw around the word “cancer” in a phone call following an ultrasound. Thus began a couple of weeks of anxiously waiting for biopsy results. I went from daydreaming of adding a child to our mix to wondering how long I would be around for the kids we already had. I was relieved when the results came back benign, yet this only added to the confusion I experienced in what God was doing in our lives.

Amid all this, I began homeschooling our three children for the first time. They had been in public school for a couple of years, but after prayerful consideration, I felt as if I was supposed to take them out. Shortly into the first semester I realized it wasn’t working for one child in particular. We finished our year at home, but not without many arguments and tears (more from myself than the child). As a result, they were all in public school the following year. It felt like God kept asking me to say “yes,” only to turn around and say “no.”

As if that didn’t leave enough to be questioned, my husband was getting out of the Air Force as our trial year with homeschool came to an end, and we planned on moving to Arizona, where most of our family lived and we called home. However, through his job interviews, our prayers, and my tears, we began to feel as if God was calling us to move to Missouri. Despite feeling as if the last few steps of faith landed us in quicksand, we trailed ahead, moving to the Midwest without a job or a home.

Here are just a few of the things we experienced in our first year here: one awful stay in an Airbnb, four weeks of living in some friend’s basement, six staples to my daughter’s head (not counting a separate freak accident ripping her tooth and its root out), one broken wrist for my son, and no exaggeration when I say about twenty different colds, flus, or illnesses throughout our family.

To say our faith was being tested is putting it mildly. However, the doubts, confusion, and fear we faced helped expose a spiritual game of “Lost and Found” I had been playing for a while. Revealing these hidden places helped me remember who I was created to be, offering an abundance I had forgotten that God offers.

Without trials there is no transformation.

Here Are 3 Ways to Know Your Faith Is Being Tested: 

1. You Encounter Doubts

Eve doubted God’s instruction in the garden. Abraham doubted he would have a son. The Bible is filled with examples of doubt. One example in particular makes me feel a little better about myself for doing the same and it’s found in the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 28:17 says, “And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.” Even after the resurrection, some of the same men who did life with Jesus, who walked the same ground, who shared meals, and saw his works with their own eyes, doubted.

Our doubts can swallow us whole. Drowning us in questions, confusion, fear, and anxiety. This just makes us human. What we should strive for when the doubts come, is to remember who He is and not try to rationalize why He is.

2. You Encounter Changes

There are many ways we feel the effects of change. Sometimes the change can even be exciting, only to catch us off guard when we find ourselves feeling as if life is spiraling out of control. We feel like sojourners in our own lives, relating to the Israelites more than we’d like: full of excitement as we set off for the Promised Land, only to find ourselves in the wilderness, questioning everything.

How distraught those following Moses must have been as they approached the Red Sea. An obstacle during their escape. As the people of Israel cry out, Moses says, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

I wonder if the silence Moses speaks of here is a silence within the heart, a quietness that only comes from learning to rest in God,especially in the midst of the changes life brings. Sometimes, when struggles come to surface, it’s God’s way of saying, “Dear Child, let’s work through this together.” At times, transitions are the deliverance from the chains of bondage we didn’t even know existed.

3. You Encounter Suffering

1 Peter 5:10 says, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

God created us to glorify him. However, because of sin, our tendency is to turn inward. Unfortunately, suffering is a means to an end. It’s an invitation to run to the only one who can rescue us.

Occasionally, the suffering isn’t just for us. In Colossians 1:24-26 Paul says,

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.”

God uses Paul’s suffering to share the message of the gospel with others.

A Prayer for Those Experiencing a Time of Testing

Father, we only want to know you more. I pray with each trial we meet, when life knocks us down and brings us to our knees, that slowly we would learn to get up quicker, in the hopes that one day our falls would become stumbles, and our stumbling would be just a weakening of our knees as we learn to lean on you more. Help us to be faithful even when we feel like we are failing. 


Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves to encourage women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Kansas City, MO with her high school sweetheart and their three kids. You can find more from Sarah at her blog sarahnicholswrites.com and on Instagram @sarahnicholswrites.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jorge Fernandez

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