What to do When Pain Crowds Out Faith

I sat in the doctor’s office for the umpteenth time.

Can I please have some answers today, God? Please?

And in walks the doctor with his white coat and a cool grin. “Well, I’m happy to say that everything looks normal!”

I kept my calm while I smiled and nodded. Then I left that cold office and burst into tears.

Pain and sickness have a knack for crowding out faith. Prayers go unanswered & aches go unhealed. Read here for 4 steps to take when pain crowds out faith!

God, why?

Lord, do you even hear me? I’m asking you for something!

Alright, God. I trust you. I do. But I’m really struggling to understand why you haven’t answered my prayers.

Please, Lord, please. An answer. A fix. Something that will make this pain and sickness go away.

Have you uttered one of these prayers? Felt desperate enough to scream at God? Wondered why you never feel okay?

I’m with you, friend.

I’ve been in the place of no answers and lots of fear. And my heart has struggled.

I wish I could say something else. I wish I could say that I was able to place the burden in the hands of our mighty God and choose to stop fighting the never-ending battle. But I haven’t reached that place yet. I’ve tried.

And you want to know what this ongoing pain has taught me?

That my faith is incredibly fragile.

It makes me wonder – if I had an answer, would my faith somehow be strengthened? Would I resolve to trust completely in the Lord and never doubt, never waver?


But also maybe not.

So what can we do in this place of fragile faith?

Acknowledge it.

First, we must acknowledge that we’re in this place of fragile faith. Yes, God already knows our heart, but sometimes admitting it to ourselves is the hardest part.

Maybe you’re bearing the burden of unanswered pain. Maybe you’re struggling in the deep with a scary diagnosis. Maybe you’re trying to muster up the courage to get out of bed today. Whatever your burden, would you admit with me that challenges like this can knock our faith right in the gut and push it aside?

I’m not saying that faith is absent. I’m saying it’s fragile. And I’m also saying that when we choose to acknowledge it, we can in turn take the next few steps.

Embrace it.

You might be saying, seriously, who does she think she is? I can’t embrace fragile faith.

May I remind you that Jesus talks about having faith the size of a mustard seed? He says in Matthew 17, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

A mustard seed is tiny. And with his words, Jesus is allowing us to embrace the reality of fragile, small faith.

Pain is a common hardship in life. And it sure does have a knack for crowding out faith. Prayers go unanswered & aches go unhealed. Overcome hardships of pain and sickness with these 4 steps to take when pain causes fragile faith!

Challenge it.

Acknowledging it and embracing it are incredibly important. However, we should not be content to remain in this place of fragile faith forever. It may come in seasons. It may never fully go away. However, we must be challenging our faith.

This means that we should be searching Scripture for truth, surrounding ourselves with people who love Jesus and want to encourage our hearts, and praying with passion. We need to understand true faith and grow with intention.

If this is an area of difficulty for you, I encourage you to seek guidance from someone you trust. This may be in the form of a Bible study, community group, church service, or friend group. Whoever you choose to seek, do so with the purpose of challenging your faith so that it will grow!

Surrender it.

Finally, I would say that we must surrender our fragile faith to the Father. We will never be perfect this side of heaven. We will have broken bodies, broken souls, broken relationships, and broken faith.

Never having an answer & never being healed may be a reality. And this means that fragile faith may be a forever reality until the days of true glory. So, surrender it to the Lord and ask for His help. He will guide and protect, strengthen and provide.

Acknowledge it. Embrace it. Challenge it. Surrender it.

There was nothing easy about that day in the doctor’s office – or the several appointments before that one. There is nothing easy about hoping that a result will be abnormal so you might finally have an answer. And there is certainly nothing easy about waking up the next morning with the same pain in the same place.

There is also nothing easy about taking the four steps listed above. It will hurt. It might take a long time. But the relief that comes – it’s better than any answer this world could offer.

I still don’t have an answer, my friends, just like many of you. My faith suffers awful days and beautiful days. But would you join me in choosing to allow Jesus into the tough of your heart when pain crowds out faith?

Have you experienced a fragile faith? Did you overcome it, and if so, how? Comment & share with me!

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13 thoughts on “What to do When Pain Crowds Out Faith

  1. my fragile faith was bolstered Sunday. After months of watching my husband die a slow awful death, I was getting very tired and questioning my trust in God. I woke early and felt I should go to the Nursing Home. I got there during early morning shift chores so I went in the Chapel to pray. My prayer started with Proverbs 3: 5 ,6 and a plea that God would take my husband now. I went upstairs to see him and discovered he had gone to be with Jesus right at the moment I was praying. My trust in God’s mercy was overwhelming!! It was not my will but God’s will.

    1. Thanks for sharing the story here! What wonderful timing from a merciful and gracious God. While it was no doubt filled with sadness and mourning, I am thankful to hear that you felt at peace in the moment. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” What great truth to pray at that moment!
      Sending much love & lots of prayers!!

  2. Oh my goodness, I’ve had many times when I have fragile faith. I find this is when the enemy swoops in the most and says what a terrible Christian I am. This point especially blessed me: “A mustard seed is tiny. And with his words, Jesus is allowing us to embrace the reality of fragile, small faith.”

    Thank you so much for sharing such an inspiring post.

    Pinned to my Deliberate FAITH board.

    1. It’s so easy to caught up in that trap from the enemy… what a powerful connection to make. I resonate with that, as well. And so often my fragile faith comes at moments when I need the Lord more than ever! The enemy never likes that.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment and pin to your Pinterest board. I appreciate it!

  3. Stopping in from Grace & Truth. Oh, yes. I can relate to these days. We have to have faith and trust in Him. It is these days, and the suffering endured, that bring such strength and rock-solid faith that will carry us through. Each step we take in trusting Him, is a step closer to walking in His image and serving Him.

    1. Yes, Kim! It’s amazing how God can use trials and difficulties and pain to making something glorifying! The process is hard. And too often I get caught in that part… but oh, when I can truly trust, it’s amazingly beautiful. 🙂 Thank you for stopping in!

  4. I so get what you’re saying! I know what it’s like to feel sick 90% of the time, yet every single test is normal, every time. It does make faith feel fragile – as fragile as a crystal goblet some days! Thanks for your wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement. I’m going to be sharing this post next week. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Stefani. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that we’re not alone in feeling that way, am I right? It’s a tough road, but we serve a Mighty God! Thanks for commenting and sharing. I appreciate you!

  5. Lamentations 3 is one of my favorite places to go when my faith is fragile, which can be more often than I like to admit. Jermiah talks about how he is feeling but after proclaiming his belief I the steadfast love of the Lord he say, “The Lord is my portion, there for will I wait for Him.” What an example odpf fragile faith at work.

    1. Yes, Gail. I love that. Thanks for sharing it here! I will have to read that chapter. And I have fragile faith more often than I’d like to admit too.

  6. What I appreciated in your post was encouragement to accept our faith at its current state while also striving to grow. I think it can be tempting to fall into despair when we are facing a challenging situation and are criticizing ourselves for not having strong enough faith; sometimes, that can make us turn further away from God out of shame. Your reccomendations provide advice to fight against that.

    I can definitely relate to this. When I first got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I really struggled in accepting the diagnosis, and I continue to find myself growing frustrated with God when I have tough days. What I’ve found about these challenges is that they make me realize that there is nothing else we can do but trust God. Your comment about acknowledging the fragility of our faith is actually the first thing I listed in a post I wrote a while back about loving God when we have a chronic illness. One of the other things I found was looking to for role models in the Christian faith who had strong faith despite their suffering. I found that trying to follow their example, or even just seeing that it is possible to have a strong faith in the face of suffering, ecourages me to grow closer to God.

    Thank you for sharing your honest and encouraging insight!

    1. Hi Kate! Thanks for reading and commenting. I love your suggestion about finding role models to follow. You are so right – illness can be difficult, frustrating, and downright sad. However, when we trust the Lord, we believe that He is working always for His glory, which means it’s also for our good.

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