Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller


Picture it

Johnny spills his cereal.  Then someone cuts you off on the freeway.   Then the computer crashes.

And we respond with — REALLY?!?!?

But what’s in our hearts when we say that?

What I learned from my wife

No, that’s not a picture of my wife.

But it’s a perfect picture for what she was saying.

She saw that when we respond to problems with — REALLY?!?!? — what we are saying is —

  • this is BAD
  • this is JUST TOO MUCH

And that’s wrong — why?

Well — it’s because God is in sovereign control of everything.

It’s true.  He is.

And — for those who trust Jesus, everything that comes our way is a gift of great goodness from His wise and loving hands.

(I don’t say that lightly.  This might be troubling for those of you who have suffered greatly.  But ponder Scriptures like Gen 50:20, Job 1:21, Job 2:10, Eph 1:11, and Rom 8:28.  And think about the story of Joseph …)

The story of Joseph

Picture Joseph being thrown into a pit, then sold into slavery, then falsely accused, then thrown into a dungeon.

Imagine Joseph saying — really.  Really?  REALLY?!?!?

But understand that God answers —

REALLY.  I am really doing all of this — to bring about amazing good for you and the nation of Israel.”

And He did.

God purposed all this to have Joseph became the #2 man in Egypt, and to save God’s people from famine.

What’s the take-away?

It’s not — try hard to not say REALLY?!?!?

Will-power won’t cut it.

But faith in Jesus will.

So turn to Jesus and trust Him to forgive you, help you, change you.

Ask Him to increase the work of the Spirit in your heart.

Ask Him to fill your heart so crashed computers and spilled cereal won’t empty you.

Then set your heart on passages like the ones I listed above.

Pray over them until the Holy Spirit helps you —

  • see that God is sovereign over everything,
  • know that every trial is ordained by Him,
  • trust that every trial will bring you great good,
  • feel His love filling your heart.

The mouth speaks out of the heart

That’s what Jesus taught (Matt 12:34).

So with a heart that’s resting in God’s sovereign goodness — when trials come, instead of saying REALLY?!?!? — say —

REALLY — God is really in control, and is really using all this to bring me great good.

Feedback?  Pushback?  Suggestions?

I’d love to hear them.  Feel free to leave a reply below.  Thanks.

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Here’s more about trusting God during trials —


(Picture is by evil erin on flickr.)

Category: Miscellaneous


13 Responses

  1. Katherine F. says:

    Thanks for making me laugh with imagining God saying, “REALLY!” back to me. Funny thought. Thinking about the ideas in this post also works with things we consider to be “interruptions” or “delays” in our life. Actually, nothing is holding up “our future” – God’s the God of timing, and everything will happen at just the right time (both planned things and so-called interruptions or surprises – God is not surprised by anything). All good to keep in mind, as I contemplate not seeing my son for 5 months straight since he was offered a summer internship far away from here (Boston). I was hoping to see him for mother’s day in May when his finals were over, but now we probably have to wait until mid-June to see him. God knows all about being separated from His son!!! Thanks for blogging about faith!!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      It’s always a joy to hear from you, Katherine.

      And thanks for your comment about seeming interruptions or delays — and that nothing is holding up our future. You are so right.

      And may the Father richly pour His comfort upon you until you get to see your son again.

      Blessings, and much love to all of you,

      Steve (and Jan)

  2. Paul Walton says:

    How would you console a believer who was abused as a child? Telling them that God allowed them to be sexually or physically abused to bring about a great good, could cause them to question God’s love. It’s a question I have had difficulty trying to resolve, what should be our response if someone was to share that burden with us?

    • Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

      Hi Paul,

      Yes, it is very difficult to give a response in such a case. However, from my own painful experiences as I wrote in another comment recently – perhaps you remember – I can say that it is impossible to comfort a sexually (physically) abused person, especially when you are a man as the offender(s) has (have) been, too. Here, I think, it would be better to only listen and “weep with those who weep”.

      I would abstain completely from talking about God. His thoughts and His ways are not ours, but the sexually or physically abused person won’t grasp that such painful experiences will make sense later, when Jesus will have healed every wound of her/his heart (long-term process!!).

      Sometimes it lasts decades before victims allow themselves to feel those suppressed painful feelings for the first time – they always felt guilty, and nothing else. As soon as they become aware that the offender himself is the only guilty one, those frozen feelings – hatred, anger, wrath, and desire for revenge – emerge, often with a “slam”. Here we need sure instinct to not make a mistake, because this is always a psychologically dangerous situation – not easy to control. My suggestion would be to additionally consult an experienced psychologist who, indeed, cannot heal but help to balance those threatening emotions through appropriate medication and cautious conversation. As for medication it could be helpful to consult a neurologist, too.


      Steve – sorry again for “precommenting”, but this special issue “triggered” me a wee little bit…


      • Paul Walton says:


        Thanks for your input, I appreciate your concern since this is an issue that you have a heart felt connection with. I do wrestle with how to “help” someone see that God’s grace is abounding towards us in all things, even through the uglier aspects of life. Perhaps there is no pat answer for this kind of issue, other than knowing that God will make all things right one day!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Important question, Paul.

      Sexual abuse is a terrible tragedy. Once someone has experienced it the most important way to love them is to weep with them — both from our own compassion, and because this is part of God’s heart towards this person and the great wrong they have experienced. Susanne is absolutely right.

      But at some point we can gently help them explore what God’s Word says about terrible tragedies. Joseph’s story is helpful, because he, too, suffered a great wrong. Gen 50:20 describes it in two ways. It was meant by Joseph’s brothers as evil, and it was meant by God for good.

      The worst evil in human history was Jesus being nailed to the Cross. That, too, was meant for evil by the religious leaders — and it was meant for good by God.

      When an abuse victim can come to see God both as weeping over the evil, and as purposing the infinitely greater good, full healing will be able to come.

      The best time to teach people this understanding of God is before trials occur — because then they will already have the rock-solid biblical foundation on which to weather the storm.

      Once the trial occurs, if they don’t already have that foundation, there will first need to be much heart-connection, much love, much listening, much weeping. But then at some point they will need to gain the foundation and comfort of understanding God’s sovereignty and goodness and wisdom even in life’s most painful trials.

      • Paul Walton says:

        Hey Steve,

        Thanks for the reply, what you shared is very helpful and biblical. Certainly God has ordained sin to exist, and in doing so it has been the cause of great sorrow for Him. But I don’t believe we can say that He ordains specific acts of evil, (rather He allows sin in general to exist and in doing so evil things occur) I believe in the case of Joseph, God is sovereign and was able to invoke His will even though Joseph’s brothers were responsible for their actions. God has ordained evil to exist, but is able to still overcome it by His sovereign will to bring about great good.

    • Joe G says:

      Saw this and thought it was pertinent to your question Paul:

      Though not comprehensive, it is certainly a helpful start.

      • Paul Walton says:

        Joe G.
        Thanks for the link, though it does not address some of the deeper questions, (I’m sure the book is very detailed) it is a good starting point to help minister to folks who are struggling.

  3. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:


    Really – this is an awesome posting! True-life scenes everybody knows. You made me chuckle about spilled cereals and crashed computers. I suppose these things are only preliminary exercises for “being thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused, [and] thrown into a dungeon.”

    Or in New Covenant language, “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake … [And] they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake … Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.”

    But what would be the “amazing good” for us if had to suffer in this or some other way? To say it with Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

    Many blessings,


    • Steve Fuller says:

      I’m glad to hear this post was encouraging to you, Susanne. Thank you for taking the time to let me know.

      And you are so right — Jesus didn’t promise ease and comfort this side of eternity. But He did promise that our momentary, light afflictions here are producing for us an eternal weight of glory in beholding Him (2Cor 4).

      So let’s press on, fearless and strong in Him.


  4. Bill Schuler says:

    Susanne, I thought your response to Paul was wonderfully wise and spot on. I tryed once to answer that hard question asked by someone who went through an unspeakable horror, and ended up wishing I would have said nothing except maybe “I dont know”

    • Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

      Oh, thank you very much, Bill! 🙂

      I’m very glad that you replied to me.

      We always want to help others, but sometimes I don’t know what to do or how to speak in a comforting way. Since I have the natural tendency to say too much – and I know how it feels being “heart exposed”, and extremely vulnerable in my own painful feelings – I prefer taking an invisible band-aid to tape my mouth shut. And then I only pray. Most of the time God soothes my heart and gives me peace, so that I love remaining silent. He also touches my heart, so that I can weep with others, feeling their deep pain as if it was my own. Without God – this would be a real Mission Impossible…

      God bless you so much, Bill


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