Familiar feelings can trigger memories almost like a familiar scent. That tickly feeling of a tear running slowly over the bridge of my nose and dropping onto the pillowcase as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep. Trying not think anymore about whatever painful thought is responsible for the tears. That familiar, tickly feeling usually triggers painful memories of all the previous nights I cried myself to sleep while being angry at or questioning God for my circumstances at the time.
But through the years of painful suffering, I learned something that is irreplaceable and completely worth all the tears: to have faith in God means to trust that He is always and only good. Through my years of hurting, my faith has grown.
Faith, or trusting God, is like a muscle in many ways. When trying to build muscle, you can attempt a wide variety of approaches, but the reality is it takes consistency and time to build. It cannot be rushed and cannot be shortcut. It requires endurance and a conscious choice to focus on.
And like working out your muscles, it can be a painful process at times. You may not know this if you’re not interested in fitness, but in order to build muscle, your existing muscle fibers must first break down, then rebuild stronger than before. The weights are usually pretty heavy, much like the circumstances in your life that require faith to endure well. Soreness can linger for a time afterward.
But as you build muscle, your body adapts and is able to perform the same exercise more easily, like muscle memory. That’s why a variety of exercise and increasing weights results in the best fitness, as opposed to doing repetitive tasks.
Much like muscle memory, you can practice having faith or trusting God with the circumstances in your life. The more you practice, the easier it gets over time for that to be one of your first reactions to a situation. I’m certainly not an expert at this – I feel like I will always be learning how to better trust God with more and more of my life. But I love the idea that, like muscle building, you can begin to see progress of growth even if you’re still growing.
So wherever you are in the process of struggling with something, you can decide to begin working out your muscle of faith. You can decide to trust God with your circumstances and know that He is good, and He is working your situation out for good, even if you don’t understand or see how yet. There is hope in the growth that’s taking place in your heart.