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Roasted Faith Series Part 3: Hard Faith

By May 12, 2016Faith

We had the most successful summer ever and then the fourth quarter hit like a ton of bricks smashing. We broke hard; three and a half years of hard work down to an instant, flat nothing.

What do you say when you have to lay off employees?

What happens when faith breaks and risk is rewarded with failure?

It was the fourth quarter of 2007, the beginning of the great crash of 2008. Our accountant assured us we were not the only ones hurting. She had clients in business for 20 plus years that were suffering; some were surviving, some were not, and others it was yet to be determined. Misery loves company; it was good to know we were not alone in the chaos.

I remember praying desperately that God would turn things around and yet, the worst came. Our lives were forever changed by this turn of events that set off a chain reaction. Life goes on and you feel like the walking dead. You go through the motions, but not really breathing or living fully. The blanket of shame, condemnation, fear, and guilt laid down heavy on us. Oh how the enemy loves when we live out the mess we are experiencing.

As I answered the door, I knew the look in his eyes was not that of a friendly neighbor. He held a letter of intimidation that had my husbands name on it and life continued crumbling right over my 35th birthday. A creditor at my door, barging into a family moment where he did not belong. Maybe this was a movie set, not MY life.

There is a faith that is hard and the taste is bitter. It’s a strong, enduring faith; one that pushes through, with fortitude, no matter the outcome – good or bad – knowing God’s purpose will prevail for His glory alone. When you can taste the bitter and still chose faith in a God who can – resting in His ultimate sovereignty – maybe you have drank from the “dark roast” cup of faith. Without the bitter we would not know the power and depth of God’s love, mercy, grace, and steady faithfulness. 



The dark roast: beans roasted at a higher temperature, for a much longer period of time, and the caffeine diminishes. The beans will crack once, and then twice, not quite reaching that third break. The origin of flavors, good and bad, are burnt out and the beans take on the flavor of the roasting process. Darker roasts develop an oil on the bean’s surface, they are no longer dry.

Our lives can feel burnt out, with circumstances we did not chose, depleting our “caffeine”, our resources, abilities, and strength – leaving us with the bitter flavor of emptiness. It’s difficult for God to fill a container that is already full. We’re emptied out so that we might be filled. Everything of “us” is burnt out, we hardly recognize who we are any more. Yet, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing” Psalm 23:1.



I’m not prepared for the faith I’m called to and maybe none of us are. I want the outcome of a miracle without being in a position to receive one. I want more of God, or do I? That means “me” must be stripped away and emptied. I desire to impact the world for Christ, yet when he calls me to this difficult-to-walk-it-out kind of hard faith I throw a fit longing for comfort or shrink back in fear.

We want the passion without the sacrifice of the broken; the emptied out container that’s desperate to be filled. The oil of anointing comes through the broken pieces of still trusting, the emptying out of ourselves so that we having nothing left, but to be filled to overflowing by our Abba Father who is so, so good.

Seven years later I would not trade the hard faith walk, for now I KNOW my God. Until we NEED we often do not KNOW. The gift is in the intimacy, in the KNOWING.

Faith on my terms, skipping the roasting process, isn’t really faith at all.
The good news is, we only need a small amount of faith to begin with and a whole lot of God to keep pushing through in perseverance. The full measure of God’s power, love, faithfulness, and anointing is often seen when we’ve tasted the bitter and experienced the loss of emptiness – all to be filled again. Psalm 23:5 says it this way, “You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessing.” To be filled to overflowing, we must first be emptied.

The contract was written, negotiations were under way, and there was no answer as time passed. I drove to the street, sat in front of the house and prayed to a God who I KNOW can. When I opened my eyes the text was there, the contract was signed and accepted. “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24 Seven years of a wild faith journey and we are finally home! God fills and restores!

About Joelle Povolni

Faith Caffeine: Inspiration for faith and creativity. Building a creative life of faith and beauty in the heart and home. Inspiring and empowering others to do the same.


  • Stopped in my tracks by your words about emptying. Thanks for giving me words to put around the blessed emptiness that comes – even when I don’t understand the why of it all.

    • Your welcome Michele. I’m so thankful God is faithful to walk us through the times and seasons of emptiness and then in His perfect timing fill us. He is so, so faithful. Thanks for sharing!

  • “We want the passion without the sacrifice of the broken; the emptied out container that’s desperate to be filled. The oil of anointing comes through the broken pieces of still trusting, the emptying out of ourselves so that we having nothing left, but to be filled to overflowing by our Abba Father who is so, so good.”

    Joelle, a mentor once told me that if I wanted to follow God into full-time ministry, I would experience trials unlike any I had ever before experienced. He shared that in order to be used by God in a mighty way, there is a breaking process that must occur in our lives. My how he was right! i just loved your story and your words, but the ones I copied above are my favorites. The passion without the sacrifice of the broken. Yes, that is what the world is trying to sell us. God’s way can be bitter, but it is so much better.

    • Sarah, thank you for joining the conversation and for your encouragement! You are so right. “God’s way can be bitter, but is so much better.” When someone says to me, “I want your passion”, I have to explain where it comes from. I do not think they know what they are asking for. 🙂 My passion comes from knowing God through the “dark” places in my life and finding him faithful through and in that darkness. The treasures/gifts he places deep within us through the “hard faith” seasons of our lives, never leave us. They become our pillars of faith! Thank you again for sharing and affirming. God is so, so good!

  • Ashley says:

    Wow!!!! Great post! Found you through the #raralinkup and I’m so happy I did!! This post hits home me on so many levels!!! As I was reading I was cheering, “YES!!! Yes!! This!!!! Yes!!” 😊

    • Awe, I’m so thankful we have connected and that what I shared resonated with you. God is so faithful to use our lives for His glory! It is great to hear your encouragement. We all need it!! Have an amazing day!

      • This is powerful! He wastes nothing, every trial bringing us closer to His plan for us… needed these truths today, big time, Joelle. Made sure to share! Glad to see you over at #TestimonyTuesday with Holly…

        • Awe, thank you Christine. God’s plan and purpose is always greater than our pain. So thankful he waste nothing and shapes it all to be used for His glory, if we allow him to work in and through it all. Thank you for sharing and joining the conversation. Great to connect with you at #TestimonyTuesday with Holly.

  • Such a profound testimony, Joelle – and the ending was like a spoonful of sugar. This: Without the bitter we would not know the power and depth of God’s love, mercy, grace, and steady faithfulness. Such truth. It’s amazing that walking in those bitter moments can feel like pure death, but looking back on them we can have pure gratitude for what God did and how He sharpened and heightened our faith. It’s grace that leads us to the point of willingness to walk it over again for that sweet outcome of more of Him. I’ve truly enjoyed this series and how you’ve tuned into to the depths of faith.

    • Feeling like pure death is a perfect way to describe walking through those hard seasons. Yes, he is faithful to sharpen and heighten our faith during the journey. It’s amazing how he works! Thank you for your encouragement Tiffany. I would not have a story to share if it were not for the mercy and grace of God for sure! Have an awesome day!

  • You are right. None of us are. #7 at Holley’s today and glad I jumped over and visited.

    • Thankful while we may not be prepared for the faith that God calls us to, his is faithful to equip us each step of the way. Thank you for visiting and for linking up at #coffeeforyourheart! Have an amazing day!

  • Great, great point about needing to be empty in order to be filled. This is a hard truth, but it is truth nonetheless. I needed this reminder today!

    • Yes, being emptied is a hard truth. There is hope when we know that God fills us up above and beyond what we can think or imagine. I hope you have a wonderful day! Thanks for stopping by Shannon!

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