North Santa Rosa

Living with Purpose by Matt Dobson

An atheist is walking through the forest when Big Foot jumps out at him. As the Sasquatch approaches menacingly, the atheist yells, “Lord, save me!” Seconds later a voice rumbles from heaven, “I thought you didn’t believe in Me.” “Well,” the man says, “Until a minute ago I didn’t believe in Big Foot either.” Some people reach out to God even when they claim not to believe. How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh my God!”, but they have no on-going friendship or relationship with Him? This tells me most level-headed people, deep-down inside want to know there is a refuge in which they can run to when things are chaotic and unstable. People want security. They want an anchor to hold on too. Whether they will admit it or not, people long for peace, contentment, and joy. These things are possible. In fact, “…with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).

However, does it sometimes seem you are overwhelmed with trying times? Are you nervous, worried, and afraid of the future? Are there people you work with that seem to be out to get you or make you look bad? Is there a particular family member that makes life hard for you? Over and over in God’s Word we are told how much God loves us and how He will protect us if we are faithful to follow Him. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And Psalm 121:7 says, “The Lord will keep you from all harm; He will watch over your life.” Other verses of faith for hard times: Psalm 32:7; 41:2; 91:10, and Proverbs 12:21.

A requirement for safe provision is a trusting faith in God— a faith that is characterized by a positive attitude. The challenge here is trying to be positive in the face of the trial. Temptations, testing, and trials come to everyone. It takes a positive faith to win over the devil’s tricks. A negative attitude toward faith invites, and even promotes feelings of being overwhelmed. One of my track coaches at Florida State tried to motivate the team by saying, “Don’t look at your opponent as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to practice faith in yourself, your training, and your abilities!” Even when the odds are against us, Christ is with us.

Challenges can make your faith stronger when the proper attitude is applied. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:7 NLT, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold; though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” “The trials of your faith…more precious than gold.” Is there anyone that doesn’t want gold? Then, what about faith? That’s a valuable commodity to have. Hebrews 11:6 tells us without faith, it’s impossible to please God. In trying times a person without faith has nowhere to turn but to self. We are limited. We can’t hold the ceiling up forever! Trying times, difficulties, moments of weakness requires that we look somewhere outside ourselves. There is no glory for God in doing things in our own strength and own way. Faith begins where man’s power ends. We are called to look to Jesus and those that do, understand faith in God is precious. The Disciples knew this. The ones who walked with Jesus felt it. They were taught faith was to be exercised in times of crisis.

We have been discipled to pursue God and His strength. This is meaningful and can work for you, but there must be a belief system in place for your life to be able to withstand the troubled times. Many people are choosing to “wing it” or “ride it out” during difficult times. But there is no reward in this. Deliverance from trouble is what some are only concerned about. There’s no faith in this. Faith means, whether you are delivered or not, you will stick to your belief that God loves you and He’s in this with you. No matter how hard it gets, you are secure in His arms.

There are some things that are only learned in a fiery furnace. God is going to allow you to be tested. But trying times is not the time to quit trying! Do not allow yourself to be distracted from the power source and the hope you can have in Him. Nothing is more important than personal faith in God. My reason for believing this is found in 1 John 5:4: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world…our faith.” This is the answer for trying times and it brings assurance of victory to God’s people.  Walking in light of God’s will is a journey of faith. Sometimes it’s smooth sailing. Sometimes it’s troubled waters. Faith in God and obedience to what He tells you to do will always prove to be the best thing to do. No matter how long it takes to endure the test, be persistent. Keep on keeping on! Never give up! “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the faith we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promises” (Heb. 10:23 NLT). Find a church, attend faithfully, and follow God in all your ways.

  • This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at
Posted by on May 6 2012. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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