God's Purpose isn't Ruined by Unbelief: Don't be Discouraged
- Ruthie Gray Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2017 6 Nov
Last week I walked into the eye doctor’s office for an overdue examination and received my new prescription within 15 minutes of ordering. The matter I had postponed for years was resolved in a matter of minutes! Talk about instant gratification – I was in disbelief that such rapidity was possible in the realm of eyewear.
I don’t know about you, but I grew up in the ‘70s. We waited two weeks for a new pair of glasses. We retrieved letters from long-distance friends from the mailbox instead of email. And when I passed my driver’s examination, it was an excruciating ten days before my “official” license arrived (so I could show off to my schoolmates).
Our minds are constantly blown by new technology. But Someone who isn’t surprised by rapid results is God—Who spoke the sun, moon, and stars into being in one day (Genesis 1:14-16).
When we order a pair of glasses and receive a text that they’re ready just minutes later, we can hardly believe our faulty eyeballs. But even more than that, our minds can’t comprehend it; in fact, we don’t believe much these days unless we see it.
The same can be said for unbelief in God. How many times have you said, “That’s not possible”, only to see God work in miraculous ways? And think of this—how many times has God presented an answer before you realized you had a need?
Why it’s Hard to Believe
God has purpose in everything He allows, and whether or not we believe that is beside the point.
When He created the earth, planets, and universe, it wasn’t with a random “fling”. He had an exact purpose in creation—from the heavens and earth, to animals and man.
God created man to walk in fellowship with Him and glorify Himself. And that fellowship was broken by…
Unbelief that what God said was true. Unbelief that “thou shalt not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil” was really in our best interests.
Satan has crafted lies to distort God’s truth since the beginning of time. Admittedly, He’s doing a great job.
But God, the Omniscient, Supreme Being who spoke the universe into existence, already knew Satan would tempt. He also knew what Adam and Eve’s choice would be. Consequently, He foreordained the Savior to solve that problem.
Whether we believe this or not doesn’t make it so. A.W. Tozer said, “…If you read it in the Bible and your intellect can’t understand it, there is only one thing to do, and that is to look up to and say, “O Lord, Thou knowest (Ezekiel 37:3)”. (The Attributes of God, Volume I).
Why it Takes More Than Determination to Believe
Admittedly, God created man with a limited capacity to grasp the full magnitude of His attributes. But the reason? That we would learn to trust Him fully.
And how to do that—when we worry His purposes aren’t being carried out in our seemingly chaotic world?
He provided a solution for that, too: He thought of a way to help us trust Him.
Scripture says that the believer possesses the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the mind of Christ; in other words, we believers have the actual mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:12-16).
And this mind is full of truth, faith, and love.
I Thessalonians 5:8 says “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
Why is this important? Because faith causes us to believe God’s faithfulness, regardless of the turmoil in our hearts, our lives, and our world.
Yes—from a human perspective.
But entirely possible with the indwelling Holy Spirit.
But what about our nation’s direction? What about those in authority with whom we disagree? What about human trafficking, child abuse, and Jihad?
What about our unbelieving friends, family members, and children?
When we consider our spiraling society, it’s easy to get caught up in worry. We earnestly desire for unbelievers to grasp the truth we know, enjoy the peace we possess, and gain the heavenly perspective that is just one choice away.
A History Lesson in Unbelief
The Israelites felt the same way when Babylon swooped in, overtaking Jerusalem. They gave up hope that God even cared, and they knew their sinful choices caused this ambush. They were prisoners in a foreign country without hope and without God. All was doomed.
But even then, God was in control. He sent the prophet Jeremiah to tell them what to do—and it wasn’t what they expected to hear.
Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.
Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare (Jeremiah 29:5-7).
God had a strategy for survival and it involved staying put for a long time. He told this family to set down roots in this foreign, ungodly place.
When Unbelief Seems the Obvious Choice
Israel had a choice. They could either believe God, obey, and experience His peace in the tension, or they could rebel and be miserable.
We have the same choice.
When our belief systems are rocked to the core, we can choose to either lean into the tension and trust God, or we can fight it and rock our own faith in the process.
In the rest of Israel’s story, God performed the seemingly impossible; His purposes weren’t thwarted.
These days, we rarely wait for results. Our faith is shaken when it comes to waiting on God. Often, we begin to lose hope.
But praying earnestly, walking in the Spirit, and committing our days to Christ doesn’t equal faster results; instead, it grows our roots down deep, causing us to flourish in desperate times. When our faith falters and we begin to doubt, God doesn’t respond in kind.
His purposes aren’t thwarted by our lack of faith—praise God! Philippians 1:6 says He is faithful to perform that which concerns us, even if we can’t see immediate results with our faulty eyeballs.
May we instead be encouraged, as the prisoner, Paul, exhorted, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—even our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the son of God?” (I John 5: 4b-5.)
After all—we walk by faith, not by sight.