This is part 3 of the five part blog on Christian suffering by Emily Moore…
What is faith? Sometimes, because Protestant Christians tend to focus on salvation by faith alone, we limit our definition of faith to receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior in a one-time conversion experience. However, Christians are called to live their daily lives by faith and in hope (Heb 10:38, 1 Pet 1:13). R.C. Sproul says, “The only difference between hope and faith is that faith looks to what has already taken place, and we put our trust in it. Hope is merely faith looking forward.” Living by faith means that we put our trust in the accomplished work of God in Christ, and living in hope means that we believe that His promises for the future are certain and true.
When Christians patiently endure suffering, it proves our faith. 1 Peter 4:19 says “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” Part of living by faith in God means that we believe God is good even when it doesn’t seem to be true. We believe God is just even when we experience injustice. Suffering provides a unique opportunity to actually trust God instead of merely saying that we would.
Habakkuk 1:13 questions, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor on those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?” Part of the Lord’s answer may be found in ch 2:4b: “The righteous will live by his faith.” After all, no one hopes for something that they can already see. We live by faith, not by sight (Rom 8:24, 2 Cor 5:7).
Although our eyes may tell us that God is being unjust, our faith knows that it cannot be true, because God is always righteous. The outworking of this kind of hope in God will result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:6-7). We can rejoice in the confidence that if we live by faith and in hope, the suffering in our lives will glorify God.