04 June 2014
Faith in tough times
Going through tough experiences invariably has an impact on a person's faith, whether positively or negatively. Time for Discipleship, a recent Evangelical Alliance study, which is part of the series 21st Century Evangelicals, found that: 'While 83 per cent [of respondents] have experienced a major period of difficulty in their life, God has carried people through, with only 3 per cent saying the crisis has damaged their faith in the long term'.
Two Christians, Helen Peevor and David*, talk about the severe difficulties they went through and how their faith was affected by them….
Helen: "When I went for my first scan carrying my second child, I was to face one of the biggest challenges to my faith.
I was told to expect a miscarriage because my baby had excess fluid in the body and also a swelling on the back of the neck, which needs draining throughout life and is often associated with Turner Syndrome. The combination of these two conditions is almost always fatal.
While holding back tears, as I was being advised to have a termination, I was trying to focus on the fact that the doctors may say one thing but the Lord can over-rule everything.
I'd recently received teaching on healing and felt like this had been the missing link in my Christian faith. However, it took a few days to decide to take the stance that I was going to believe the Lord for healing rather than believe the doctors.
I read Bible verses on healing three times a day or whenever I needed to – a bit like taking medicine. This was a great help through the most challenging 6 months of my pregnancy.
After two weeks, I came to a place of faith and was almost free from anxiety. Taking every negative thought captive and replacing it with the truth had become a habit.
During this time, our daughter was healed of the excess fluid and the swelling. We also saw other abnormalities in her body healed.
However, she was born with Down's Syndrome which was not what I had been expecting. It was a shock that my baby was not completely healed but I felt the Lord challenged me in my hospital room to get back on the 'highroad of faith'.
Our daughter, Esther Faith is now six and the Lord is continuing his work. She is in year one in mainstream school and is set to achieve normal levels in reading, maths and writing by the end of the year. Our journey of faith continues."
David*: I'd been born into a Christian family, and had been following Christ all my life. By the age of 39 I appeared to be very blessed. I'd been married for 14 years, had four wonderful children, a well-paid job, a good home and was well settled in a church.
But, in the space of four weeks, I was living alone and jobless. My wife had left me for another man, taking the children with her. Throughout this terrible ordeal I knew Jesus Christ was with me; I never doubted once.
A very special Christian I knew gave me a crucifix to hold as I went about my day. She regularly prayed with me for my children and advised me to accept all that my wife asked for.
Although I knew that Christ rescues us from situations we cannot save ourselves from, I didn't know how he would do this. I found help and support through my family, mental health charities, my best friend, a central London church as well as new friends. I prayed fervently and found that Christ made his presence so real to me, and has continued to do so. Jesus Christ has literally given me the ability to pray all the time, except for when I am sleeping. He is always on my mind.
With God's prompting I quickly forgave my wife and the man she had committed adultery with as well as the people who had hidden the affair from me.
Another friend encouraged me to go back to church. Christ then brought my new wife and me together and we are now married. He also gave me a job. He did all that for me and more.
Christ continues to heal me. I hold firmly to these words from Romans 8: 'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.'
*Not his real name