There is a saying in sports, “Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they never get it wrong.”
God wants us to be professional believers. What does he want us always to get right and never get wrong?
He wants us to trust him completely in every circumstance, even when faith in him feels hard to justify due to our afflictions.
How do we become professional believers? Practice.
The Israelite Example
After fleeing Egypt following the ten plagues, the Israelites became angry at God when they saw Pharoah’s army bearing down on them at the Red Sea.
Even though they knew he had miraculously rescued them from slavery, they thought that he was going to let them be recaptured.
They needed more practice before they were ready to trust him completely.
Then God parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could scurry to the other side on a dry seabed. They praised him for rescuing them a second time.
But three days after this miraculous event, the Israelites got mad at God again because they were thirsty.
They still needed more practice before they were ready to trust him in every circumstance.
Practice Strengthens Faith
We are like the Israelites.
No matter how big or recent our past triumphs, we are always one step away from getting mad at God and doubting him because of some pressure or inconvenience.
This selfish tendency is a natural byproduct of our sinful nature.
God wants us to reach the point where we trust him completely, despite our feelings of discomfort and uncertainty.
Learning this lesson requires practice. Opportunities for practice arise when we encounter affliction.
God does not engineer distress to teach us to trust him. But he uses the afflictions we inevitably encounter in this fallen world for this purpose.