Devotional

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

Some 33.9 million miles from earth, Mark Watney, a NASA botanist left for dead, has to figure a way to survive for years in a plastic habitat designed to last days, until the folks back home can work out how to get him back. Mark found himself in the valley of the shadow of death both literally and figuratively. It is this type of situation when even the strongest faith would come under fire. 

You may be thinking that The Martian is a movie, but what I am going through is real. You could tell me about circumstances that are so awful, so soul-crushingly terrible; and worst yet, there seems to be no end in sight. Your world these days consists of words like upheaval, uncertainty, and chaos. You might add that while the Bible tells you “not to worry” (Matthew 6:31) you believe there is plenty to worry about. You may feel like Mark Watney in that you have been left behind and God seems 33.9 million miles away. It is in these situations that our faith is under fire.

It is in times like this that we need to remember how good God is and how much power God has. You don’t know that you can count on God to come through until you reach the end of yourself and you have no one to count on except God. Then you learn something about the awesome God we serve. God is able. God is unlimited. God is all powerful. God can do anything. The Bible says with God, nothing is impossible. God doesn’t always give us what we want, but we do know that he is following His plan which is a better plan than we have. Faith is not about what we see, it is about who we know. As Hebrews 11:1 says, “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

We are called to be a people of faith. A people who are wholeheartedly committed to the journey that God is taking us on. We are to lay down our own fears and trust in Him. What’s so amazing about this is that God gives us the faith as a gift, He brings the trial, He gives us the perseverance to get through the trial, and then He commends us afterwards. It’s God’s grace all the way.

It brings me back to the movie The Martian. At the end of the film, Watney is speaking to a group of fresh-faced new astronaut recruits. He explains how in space, things will go wrong and when they do you can either choose to give up and die or you can choose to do something. When we face tough times we too have a choice: we can accept what is happening to us or we can do something. And doing something is having the faith to trust God to do His will.

Discussion Questions:

  1. A faith journey sometimes begins with a difficult challenge.  Oftentimes, we are unaware of our need for faith until we face something we can’t control. Agree or disagree and why?
  2. A faith journey often gets worse before it gets better. Agree or disagree and why?
  3. What can we do to deepen our faith in tough times?