According to John 14:1, what is going to protect the disciples in their upcoming circumstances of watching their master be arrested and crucified?—faith. What protects us in times of trouble?—faith. However, in addition to possessing the wrong object of faith, it is also common to misunderstand the necessity of enduring faith. There are many people who operate with this mindset: “I believed in God when I was younger and now I’m going to live my life hoping that act of faith will carry me through.” Conversely, the Bible teaches that a profession of faith that does not endure AND bear fruit is dead and worthless.
So when we encounter a call to believe God in Scripture, it is not a call to examine if you have ever believed that there is a God or had some sort of experience with God or even that the Bible is true. Instead, it’s asking you to examine: Do you believe in God throughout your days amidst the moment by moment temptations and lies that are contrary to Scripture?
Even still, we must be prepared to face that initial wave of unsettledness and doubt that happens to almost everyone in times of significant trouble, but it’s at that point we can trust ourselves OR trust in God’s word. This often takes careful examination in order to discover the object of our trust, but here are some diagnostic questions: Am I trusting in God UNTIL things start happening that do not make sense? Am I trusting in God UNTIL I have a strong emotional response that tells me I shouldn’t? Am I trusting in God UNTIL I cannot see the exact pathway forward?
An incredibly helpful text to turn to for help is Ps. 56, in which David expresses this in Ps. 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. 4 In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?
We think that verse should say—AFTER I am afraid—AFTER the worrisome feelings have gone away; AFTER I’ve sufficiently figured out a proper solution and have full clarity of the step-by-step plan that I can accomplish on my own, THEN I will trust in you. To live like that does not require faith. It is denying aspects of the character and promises of God.