Faith is one of those concepts that has always been hard for me to grasp. Not only that, but I would just get downright mad at others who would sometimes just tell me to "have faith." I already knew that I should have faith, but I spent many years wondering how? I wanted someone to tell me how. These well-meaning friends that were telling me to "just have faith" didn't ever tell me HOW to have Faith or what exactly to do. I know there isn't some magic formula, but there had to be something to grab on to. It was just an abstract concept to me and I struggled with how to attach some "meat" or a real meaning to this thing we call Faith.
I can tell you from personal experience, my discovery of Faith has come from the school of hard knocks. It hasn't come from some book I read (other than the Bible), or some message I've heard, just blood, sweat, and tears. So, without further ado, here are my suggestions on how to make Faith real in your life. I even used the letters F-A-I-T-H to make it easier to remember:
Follow what God has already directed in your life. I remember many years ago when my daughter was struggling on her decision to become a missionary. She prayed and agonized over the decision for years and could never come to peace with a decision. She was totally miserable because she always felt called to be a missionary, but just couldn't take that step of faith. One day, she was talking and praying with my wife and mentioned that she just didn't know what to do; she just couldn't get God's direction on what to do. My wife, in her Godly wisdom, told my daughter that she believed God had already given her the direction and instruction she needed, but that my daughter wasn't being obedient to follow that direction. Once she heard that from my wife, it was as if a ton of bricks was lifted from her shoulder. God's will and direction for her life was there all along; she just wasn't willing to accept it at the time.
Accept God's timing. I don't have enough space in this article to tell you how many times God's timing has been perfect in my life. Now, I didn't say HIS timing was what I wanted it to be, but it was always what I needed it to be. There were jobs and promotions I thought I deserved and didn't get, only to realize why many months later. There were financial decisions that I needed to make that had I made them when I wanted to make them, would have turned out disastrous. I could go on and on, but my point is that you have to accept and trust that God's timing is perfect and there for a reason, even if you don't understand it.
Ignore the naysayers and Invite wisdom from others. Don't spend your time listening to wisdom and advice from ungodly people or those that haven't experienced what you're experiencing. Don't listen to financial advice from someone working 3 jobs. Don't listen to your hair-dresser give you Stock market advice. Instead, seek out wise and Godly counsel from those you trust and who are experts in the area you are needing advice, or at least experienced in the areas.
Turn toward HIM, not the problem. This is probably the most difficult of all. Whatever you're going through, no matter how bleak, no matter how depressing or seemingly hopeless it is, Focus on HIM not the situation. I don't mean that you sit back and do nothing to help your situation. What I do mean is that you pray and cry out to God and let HIM know that HE is the most important thing in your life. Let HIM know that even though you don't understand what's going on, your accept that HE is in control and knows what's best for you and your situation. You'll be amazed how turning toward HIM will strengthen and uplift you, even during the darkest times.
Humble yourself; we don't deserve anything anyway. At some point, we all have to realize that if we never received another thing in this world; if I never accomplished anything else in life; I am still victorious in Christ. I am a sinner saved by Grace. I don't deserve anything but HE loved me so much that he died for me. That alone, should be sufficient no matter what may happen in life itself.
I pray that whatever you may be experiencing right now that you'll find new courage and strength in your daily walk of Faith.