Recognizing Faithfulness When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

I’m a sister. Protective (and maybe a little bossy) describes me. I feel a kinship with Martha and Mary. Their brother Lazarus was sick, and he needed his dear friend, Jesus.

The sisters sent word for Him to come. They waited. And waited. And waited.

By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany to help, they had sat at the sick bed and then the death bed of their brother for several days.

Talk about life not making sense. These ladies must have wondered many times where Jesus was and what was so vital that He delayed coming to His dear friend. I would have wondered. I would have done some complaining, too. I tell you one thing; Jesus better have a good excuse for piddling around and not getting here when Laz needs him.

I’ve wondered over God’s delays. Have you?

Maybe you need God to heal your body, your kiddo, or your momma, and you wait. Maybe your month runs out of money right in the middle, and your car needs new tires. Perhaps, your marriage is breaking daily, and you need His intervention. Maybe you are a recent widow or grasping a pink slip in your shaking hands. And you wait.

What do we do when faced with circumstances that don’t make sense and God’s inaction is confusing or even hurtful?

We rely on what we know of the faithfulness of God.

Martha and Mary knew Jesus well. He had stayed in their home and sat at their table. Even in her bewilderment, Martha stated facts but held on to hope. She knew Jesus. Martha didn’t just hear about Jesus’ power and love — she lived it.

Martha’s past experiences with Jesus built her faith in His faithfulness.

Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.’”

John 11:21-22

What is one helpful way to recognize God’s faithfulness in our lives?

Remember. Think back to the times in your past when God was there for you — especially those times that He didn’t rescue you from the circumstance. We choose to believe, by faith, in God’s sovereignty and wisdom. Because He is omniscient, God knew rescue wasn’t the best course. You don’t understand it and I don’t understand it (and I can be kinda mad about it sometimes), but God knows the beginning from the end. In walking that hard time out, you learned so much about your Heavenly Father and yourself. The Holy Spirit’s power living within you empowered you to do more than you thought you could.

So he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”

Luke 11: 14-15 (NLT)

You will need to be intentional in seeing God’s faithfulness. Researchers say that negative emotions seem to be easier to remember than positive ones. Emotions such as fear and sadness trigger increased activity in the area of our brain linked to memories. Emotionally charged memories are preserved in more detail.

Our brain’s ability to do this is pretty helpful when we need to be alert to danger, right? But may not be so helpful when searching our memories for instances of God’s faithfulness in more difficult times.

I have found this to be true in my life. I distinctly remember painful bits and pieces of hard times much easier than day-to-day activities. Like the time a dog chased me down the street while walking to elementary school and scared me so bad that I threw my recess candy money at him. I ain’t forgetting that one. I can still replay that action-packed sequences in my mind!

The natural ability to remember bad times over good times will rob us of our joy. This is one reason I wrote my newest book, Grace Maps: Our Journey Guided by God’s Grace.

Carmen Horne: Grace Maps

Y’all, God is faithful when our heart might bust with happiness, and He’s faithful when our heart feels shattered over hurt. Revelation 19:11 reminds us of a name that not only describes Jesus, it is His name — Faithful and True.

Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.

Revelation 19:11 (NLT)

When life doesn’t make sense, we might begin to think it isn’t making sense to God either. That’s a trick of our enemy. Let’s look at this declaration of God in Isaiah 46:10 (CSB),

I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: my plan will take place, and I will do all my will

Looking for God’s faithfulness in the unpredictable is a challenge. Finding good goes against our natural desire to remember the bad. When we join our choices with Holy Spirit empowerment, can override this penchant. Then, the realization of God’s faithfulness will flood our memories and usher in more joy and peace for our lives.

Here’s a quick prayer for those times that bad memories are on auto-play.

Lord, help us override our penchant to remember more bad than good. Open our eyes to Your faithfulness. Infuse us with Holy Spirit power to trust You when we feel confused and bring back sweet memories of Your presence. We pray in the name of our Faithful and True Savior, Jesus. Amen

P.S. We have several resources to help with your processing. Click over to my RESOURCES page and download a few. And don’t forget our newest resource below.

Seeing God’s Grace Guide

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  1. Carmen, thank you for your encouraging messages. They are such a blessing. I probably told you already about the things I’ve been walking through: a stroke at the end of March – and since then a heart valve needs replacing, my only sibling my brother died in a one car accident, both of my hips eventually need replacing, one of them is very painful, and it seems I’m now having sciatic nerve pain for which I am having an MRI on Monday to be sure of correct diagnosis. Please pray for me. Blessings!

    1. Cathy! Oh my goodness! Your poor body is going through so much. Your heart and mind are doing through so much! As I respond, I see that you have already had your MRI. I sure hope you update me and let me know how you are doing. Praying, friend!