Within the last six months I learned how to do push ups. This is nothing I would have pursued of my own volition, being of the opinion that it was impossible for a person of my age to do push ups. I was asking my daughter's advice on some workout options for home and she suggested them. I promptly told her that it would not be possible and that I could not do even one. She burst out laughing at me. She said, "Of course you can do push ups." I ignored her and months went by. Then she came home for a visit and the subject came up again.
"Okay, show me how you do them," I finally said. I would prove to her I couldn't do them and then that would be the end of it. "Make sure your back is very straight; make sure you are pushing up with your arms." I tried it and I actually did one. It almost confused me because I was so convinced it wasn't possible. So the next morning I got up and did eight of them. Now I am up to 13 each morning. I do them along with the 25 "dips" she taught me a year or so ago and 50 sit ups. Amazing.
Faith is a lot like a workout. The dictionary calls faith a noun but I definitely think it is a verb. Most people think that faith is what you believe in such as a set of doctrines that you give mental assent to. No, faith is actually exercising the "trust" muscle in real time. It means trusting God's word is true because he is true and then conforming your mind, heart and mouth to agree with him rather than the difficult circumstances of your life.
I'm convinced that there is always an active area in each of our lives where we need to exercise faith. Lost jobs, illness, complicated pregnancies, rebellious children, depression, unfaithful spouses, struggles with weight…there is always something. Faith can't grow unless it is worked and since the Bible says that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6) it should not surprise us how many opportunities we have to flex that faith muscle.
Would we ever exercise faith unless we were forced to? Would we ever choose to be in a dire circumstance so that we could trust God to get us out of it? No way. We might act just like I did with the push ups. "No thank you God, this isn't possible so don't bring it anywhere near me because I can't do it." I don't know if he bursts out laughing but I bet he has a big smile on his face.