“It was the kind of thing that could shake your faith, but God was so good and faithful to us. He heard our prayers for healing and answered them…”

Whenever I hear this commercial come across the radio airwaves, I always wonder about the people whose prayers for healing were answered with a “no.” What about their faith and their prayers? What if Daniel’s prayers hadn’t been answered with lions’ clenched jaws and a loss of appetite?

To the father who lost his son to suicide.
To the mother who will never see her child become a man.
To a woman who will never bear her own flesh and blood.
To the marriage that breaks apart and never reconciles.
To the sick that never get well.
To the depressed who never become fully happy.
To the man who struggles with disbelief.
To the person who struggles with obesity.
To the family whose father has been out of work too long.
To the addict who sees no value in their life.
To everyone who struggles to find acceptance and love.
To anyone who feels like maybe their faith wasn’t enough

Know this: Your faith IS enough, and your story DOES count for God’s glory!

But Sometimes, Lions Win

Take a quick walk with me through Hebrews 11. After recounting the faith of people like Abraham and Sarah (which wasn’t always rock solid, by the way), the author writes…

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.

Hebrews 11:32-35

Our collective Christian response? “YES! That is our God! He is all powerful and through faith we can conquer all things!”

But wait a minute. The passage goes on to say…

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

Hebrews 11:35-40

So what about them? Persecution, destitution, mistreatment. What about their faith? Sometimes, when it looks like everything is falling apart, we tend to make unnecessary judgment calls:

“Their faith must not be great enough.”
“God must be teaching them a lesson.”
“God is angry and punishing them for their actions.”

But as we can see here in Hebrews 11 sometimes it has nothing to do with the quality of our faith. The truth is that no matter the circumstances, God counts our faith as righteous because of where it is placed. True faith does not guarantee us a life of ease, comfort, safety, health, or happiness, free of doubt or fear. Instead, faith is all about Jesus. In Him, our faith assures of a greater reward of eternal life—greater promises yet to be fulfilled.

So When The Lions Win, Does My Story Still Count?

Yes, it counts! You count! God will use all things for the furthering of His kingdom, His glory, and the salvation of many people. Your story is unique evidence of the goodness of God. You have a distinct people group that God wants you to impact. People will listen to your story. They will relate to you and feel that you can empathize with them. Your story brings glory to God! Trust Him to make it something even more significant than you can imagine.

God does not just work through the Daniels of this world. He doesn’t always shut the mouths of lions. But even when the lions attack, the victory is still the Lord’s.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20