I wrote a book last year making a bold assertion: I have seen the sun stand still. I stand by it. I’ve seen God answer plenty of prayers with a miracle. I’ve seen people physically healed in a way that left doctors speechless. I’ve seen couples who had been labeled infertile give birth to healthy boys and girls. I’ve seen people lose their job, pray, and quickly land a new job that paid twice as much and required a fraction of the travel as the last job.
Sometimes—a lot of times—it goes that way. Faith works. Prayers produce. Praise God. There’s nothing better.
But sometimes—a lot of times, honestly—it goes the other way. Sometimes the sun doesn’t stand still. Sometimes the sun goes down.
Sometimes you pray your best, most honest, heartfelt prayers—and there is no answer. Or the answer is no. Sometimes, even though your motives are pure, your desire is good, and your need is urgent, the breakthrough doesn’t come. The turnaround moment doesn’t occur. The cancer spreads. The finances get tighter. The marriage feels more lonely. The kids grow more distant.
Sometimes the sun keeps sinking down, down, down…and no amount of hoping, fasting, or right living can stop it.
Remember, before Joshua ever saw the sun stand still, he had to watch in agony as the sun set slowly on an entire generation. Yes, God gave him the privilege to lead the charge into the Promised Land. But not before he was forced to endure forty years of wilderness wandering because of someone else’s hesitancy. It wasn’t his fault or his lack of faith. He believed. He wanted to obey. Joshua even did everything he could to persuade Moses to see the situation through eyes of faith. But that generation couldn’t see through the doubts and dangers. So Joshua didn’t get to inherit the promise for a long, long time. Joshua spent a large part of his life living in the shadow of a setback. And I imagine there were days when he wondered whether the sun would ever shine again.
Maybe you’re living in a similar shadow right now. You thought you’d be a lot closer to completing your life goals by now. And you’re pretty sure that you’ve done your part to make it happen. But someone else let you down. Something snuck up from behind and knocked you out cold. A crisis came along and crippled your ambition to do great things for God…or even expect anything good from him at all.
These seasons of setback can be fatal to your faith. It’s easy to lose your way when the sun goes down. You can easily slip into a deep spiritual sleep in an attempt to escape the pain.
Or you can choose to convert your times of crisis into the greatest opportunities of your life. It all depends on how you see your crisis—and whether you seize the chance that lies before you.
I can’t in good conscience promise that God will make the sun stand still every time you walk in audacious faith. Your faith does not control God—in fact, human faith on any scale can never put divine providence in your back pocket. That means that, sometimes, people you love will get sick and they won’t recover. You won’t achieve everything you attempt. You’ll have to absorb and manage some pain you didn’t create or invite or deserve. You’ll have days filled with frustration and misery.
Audacious faith does not guarantee a crisis-free life. But audacious faith does enable you to seize the opportunity to see God’s glory in the midst of every crisis in your life.
Even when—and maybe especially when—the sun goes down.