Building An Authentic Faith

BY BENNETT ROLAN, DIGITAL EDITOR

David Swafford was out of answers. His wife, Susan, was pregnant with their first child, and as a graduate student, David wondered how he would provide for his growing family. Without a clear path forward, David and Susan also faced an appointment with a specialist for unknown pregnancy complications.  

“I was in a total panic,” he said. “I added up the cost of what I thought we needed to have a baby, then I compared it to what we actually had. The columns didn’t come close to matching. I thought, ‘We can’t afford this child, and now there’s some sort of health problem. I don’t know what you’re doing, God.’

Anticipating the upcoming doctor’s appointment, David laid his fears before the Lord. As he prayed, David remembered God’s faithfulness in the past and surrendered control of the present. 

“I knew that wasn’t what faith looked like,” David shared. “I had to repent for my lack of faith. I prayed, ‘You are going to have to provide for this child, because I can’t.’ When we went to the doctor, they did an ultrasound, and we saw this tiny little gummy bear baby. The doctor said, ‘We were concerned it was possibly cancer, but everything looks great!’ Those health issues were totally resolved. That’s still my favorite ultrasound image.” 

God was growing David’s faith, and the couple experienced His healing presence. But David’s trust was built on more than a moment. After years of testing in trials, God had established a firm foundation of faith.

The Swafford Family

Faith Built in Adversity

Two years earlier, David and Susan had clear plans for their future. As newlyweds, the couple moved to France, where David was earning his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering. While abroad, David and Susan received a phone call that changed their lives.

“It was about 11 a.m. for us, which meant it was 5 a.m. in the U.S.,” David said. “We knew immediately that whatever was on the other side of that phone call was not good.” 

The couple learned that Susan’s mother had been in a traumatic car accident. The impact knocked her unconscious, and just before the car erupted into flames, a stranger pulled her from the vehicle. Her identification was locked in the trunk, so the paramedics transported her to the hospital as an unidentified woman.

Hours later, Susan’s father was notified, but her mother remained in a coma. For 11 days, her family waited, hoping for a full recovery. 

 “I don’t think I really understood the severity of it until I was back home and visiting the hospital,” Susan said. “When she woke up with severe brain damage, I didn’t realize how serious it was going to be.”

When doctors detailed the gravity of her mother’s condition, Susan volunteered to return to the U.S. to become her mother’s full-time caregiver. Months later, David joined her in Atlanta, Ga., where he continued his studies.

After years of testing in trials, God had established a firm foundation of faith.

“I don’t think I felt any bitterness over my mother’s situation,” Susan shared. “I think I just felt compassion toward my dad. His upcoming retirement was not going to be what they had planned. It was completely derailed. We were in the house for the transition with him, but I knew at some point we would be leaving.” 

While caring for her mother, Susan was invited to a nearby BSF class. As a young adult, she had been a BSF member but had taken a break during her time in France.  

“I was able to be a part of an evening class so I could stay with my mom during the day. BSF was God’s provision. It was my break from hospital duties,” Susan shared. “Later, when I was asked to be Children’s Leader for the first time, I didn’t have kids, I was a caregiver for my mom. The advice I would have gotten from my mom was taken away, but God replaced it with the training I got from BSF. Those women taught me so much. It provided a better foundation for parenting than I could have planned myself.” 

David also joined a BSF class, along with Susan’s father, and the family grew in their commitment to God and His Word. 

“I had been a Christian for 20 years at that point, but being in the Word of God, and actually studying it, was so important,” David shared. “BSF taught me how to do that. Not to just rely on man’s words, but to allow God’s Word to speak. Then He would confirm it with other sources. When we don’t learn to study on our own, it’s as if we’re missing the feast God has set before us.”

Building a strong scriptural foundation developed the Swaffords’ faith and helped them accept the reality that Susan’s mother would never fully recover.

Faith Tested in Trials

Four years after the accident, and two years after his daughter’s birth, David finished graduate school. With a Ph.D. from a renowned program, David’s future seemed secure. But job prospects were limited and, once again, David and Susan’s faith was tested.  

“I remember having one interview in California as we finished the BSF year,” David said. “I knew I wasn’t going to get the job and was facing months without the spiritual support of those BSF guys. I had to do something to provide for my family.

 

In their darkest moments, as they prayed through their fears, David and Susan approached God with confidence. Clinging to His Word and remembering His provision gave them the faith to trust God with their family’s future.

“God doesn’t promise to take away hard times just because you’re a believer,” Susan shared. “He pretty much guarantees hard times. But God uses us and our stories. God uses broken people for His greater purpose, even with all of our faults.” 

After months of struggling through financial insecurity, David accepted a position as a sales engineer, a significant departure from his original plan.

“God uses us and our stories. God uses broken people for His greater purpose, even with all of our faults.”

“God perfectly orchestrated each step,” David said. “I didn’t see what He was doing in the moment, but I can see now how much better His plan was than mine. If I hadn’t been in the Ph.D. program, we wouldn’t have relocated back to Atlanta. We were supposed to be here so Susan could care for her mother and we could both serve in BSF. It was never about earning a graduate degree; it was about learning to trust Him. God used it to accomplish His purpose.” 

Faith Prepared for a Purpose

In studying Genesis this year, David read chapters 21 and 22 with a new perspective. Instead of solely focusing on Abraham’s remarkable faith, David saw God’s preparation from one chapter to the next.  

“In Genesis 21:12, I noticed that God was telling Abraham, ‘You need to let Ishmael go, you need to send him away.’ And that would have been really difficult,” David shared. “He was sending Ishmael, a son he loved, into the wilderness with no indication he would ever see him again. Just a few verses later, in Genesis 21:20, it says, ‘God was with the boy as he grew up,’ proving that Abraham could trust God with his son.’

“Then you go to the very next chapter, and it’s the same request with Isaac, except this time, God is not only asking Abraham to surrender his son, He’s asking Abraham to sacrifice his son. It’s almost as if the Ishmael experience was a ramp to God’s request with Isaac. Once of the themes here is trust. I think you see God building Abraham up for that. Abraham learned that he can trust God to care for his children better and more fully than he ever could.”

Through Susan’s mother’s accident, God taught the Swaffords to hold their plans loosely. They learned to adjust their expectations and embrace God’s direction. When David’s career path took an unexpected turn, God had already laid a foundation of faith.

“It was never about earning a graduate degree; it was about learning to trust Him. God used it to accomplish His purpose.”

Today, David serves as a BSF Teaching Leader, and Susan is a Children’s Supervisor. They have three daughters, ages 8, 5 and 2. And while they no longer live with Susan’s parents, they regularly spend time with them. Their girls are learning how to care for their disabled grandmother, and the couple sees every step as preparation for God’s future plan. 

Like He did with theSwaffords, God pushes our faith to its limits. And when our plans fail, He asks us to trust Him with confidence. Every challenge offers an opportunity to respond in faith. And as God meets us in our darkest moments, we learn He alone can be trusted with our greatest fears and uncertain futures. He is faithful to prepare His people for any situation. 

260 Comments

  1. Beautiful testimonies of growing faith and trust. Thank you

    Reply
  2. If we take the time to look back over our lives, I’m sure most of us would be able to see how God has directed our path through life. The troubles He has seen us through and their outcomes may not have been pleasant or the results we wanted, but in the long run they have always led us to a better place. Thank you Father for always watching over me.

    Reply
  3. Glory to God! Thank you for sharing your testimonies. I related so well of God’s GOODNESS! because He delivered me from a traumatic head injury in a car accident. Praying God’s continued blessings to your family.

    Reply
  4. Great! Your story is indeed another story the Lord is using ,along with the Genesis study , to mature me in faith; trusting, believing in the God who pursues, perseveres with those He loves (this is from our lecture aim for the week). Thank you. God bless.

    Reply
    • David and Susan. Thanks so much for the sharing. Been reminded of how hard l have been struggling to work for my well-being under unfavourable conditions. Yet God is working deeply to grow my faith. GBU.

      Reply
  5. what a great testimony, we may not understand the process but we can lean on HIm and trust Him for He is faithful.

    Reply
  6. Thanks David Swafford and family for sharing abit of your journey of life and how God provided and worked through you to overcome the adversity through faith in purpose wholeheartedly. We praise the Lord all BSF’S fraternity of believers. The Doctrine of suffering embedded Genesis no doubt very empowering to all who obeys and trust in. To God be the glory forevermore Amen.

    Reply
  7. Very inspiring story which have made me rethink of my real relationship with God. I should let God be God in every situation of my life. Thank you the David’s for challenging my faith.

    Reply
  8. thank you. God is good

    Reply
  9. Praise to be the Lord. Thank you for sharing testimony and God’s care to His children.

    Reply
  10. Thank you for sharing your testimony David and Susan. It is such an encouragement. God bless and keep you.

    Reply
  11. I loved reading the story of Susan and David it goes to show when god is in control .prayers are always heard .when you feel there is a hard road ahead our God will carry us .

    Reply
  12. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. God knew whatever David and Susan were going through, it was like the way Abraham was tested. David and Susan remained faithul and in the end they were or they are winners!

    Reply
  13. What a blessing to hear this family’s Journey of Faith. Yes God is faithful and you find that true when you study his word. May God continue to bless this family

    Reply
  14. Amen! Amen!

    Reply
  15. So encouraging
    God knows the best for us

    Reply
    • Thanks David Swafford and family for sharing abit of your journey of life and how God provided and worked through you to overcome the adversity through faith in purpose wholeheartedly. We praise God for the Doctrine of suffering embedded Genesis is more appealing and empowering to our hearts to them who trust and and obeys the God Almighty. To Go be the glory forevermore Amen.

      Reply
  16. thank you

    Reply
  17. This family’s life experience has inspired me. I trust all things Almighty GOD will take care of us every step in our lives because HE has The Plan.

    Reply
  18. Thank you for sharing your story! I too am learning how personal our immutable God us! So I can trust Him fully, and live with His profound peace. His love makes all the difference 😉
    Loving studying/teaching Genesis-first year TL, what a beautiful training ground our positions grant us.

    Reply
  19. Thank you David and Susan for sharing, indeed God is at work behind the scenes even at those times when we feel like we are on our own. So many circumstances and problems raise questions in our minds, but through it all we are learning God is trustworthy. God bless you.

    Reply
  20. It’s a beautiful testimony. BSF study of the Bible helps us to lean on God more than ever. Our understanding of God our creator and his ever present help in our situations.
    God bless your family more as you share your blessings David. Amen

    Reply
  21. Such a wonderful testimony! Brought tears to my eyes!

    Reply
  22. Thank you !

    Reply
  23. An inspiring real life story. The hymn “God moves in a mysterious way” comes to mind. One of verses aptly puts it this way:
    Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain;
    God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.

    May He help us to simply trust Him everyday!

    Reply
  24. I needed that, I agree it has been an amazing study, how every week in our desperate situation God has met us( my husband, who also does BSF)! Loved the doctrine, every week hitting the nail on the head!

    Reply
  25. Beautiful testimony of God’s provision and His eternal Grace.
    Thank you Susan and David for living a WELL with GOD..,

    Reply
  26. So grateful for your blog. You have shared how God’s plan is a great plan we just have to adhere to His will. May our Lord continue to use you both. Prayers for your parents Susan.

    Reply
    • How amazing the way God establishes us through suffering! Thank you Susan and David for the encouraging testimony. May you continue to experience His faithfulness as you see His new mercies morning by morning.

      Reply
    • Thank you Debra! Prayers for my parents mean a lot to me!

      Reply
  27. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am looking forward to class tomorrow. Genesis is so up liftingYour story just reinforced it. Thank you, in Him
    Mary Shead

    Reply
  28. Thanks for sharing your wonderful faith journey it’s convicting as our family is going through serious challenges yes BSF had been a great help in my faith journey I share this to my son and daughter in law God Bless BSF.

    Reply
  29. This testimony is encouraging. I am also GENESIS, I see the hand of God, he is also teaching about families, broken relationships, God is in control

    Reply
  30. The study of Genedis is such a source of increasing my faith &
    total dependence on God

    Reply
  31. God can only be good so trusting when things aren’t going as we thought they would but absolutely knowing that His plan is perfect and always on time.

    Reply
  32. As a member of David’s class I can definitely say that he is a gifted teaching leader. I am often surprised by how well he leads the class. I have often thanked God for David by saying Lord, you sure know how to pick them.

    Reply
    • I know David is very thankful for you too, Dr. Philippe! We are blessed by your friendship.

      Reply
  33. I loved walking through this testimony with David and Susan! My faith became even stronger as I watched God strengthen their faith in Him through all of their pain and suffering. Trusting our Creator,, Lord and Savior brings joy to my heart! Thank you BSF for these blogs and for the wonderful teachers we have helping us to dig deeper into Gods Word for more understanding!

    Reply
  34. An awesome testimony and very encouraging. If God is willing to be with one, then he is willing to do it for others. And He will do it again and again for His children. Genesis has been one story after another of God keeping His promises. He not only keeps His promises for people in the Bible, but also for you and me. God loves us, is with us, and will never let us go.

    Reply
  35. Awesome, thanks! So encouraging.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much. I have seen God in my life . I have been experiencing so financial difficulties ,even holding back my giving in the church where there is a program almost entrusted to me. Please do pray for me. This program has a due date of March 2022. I still trust God that He is going to come at the right time. Thank you and be blessed.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This