If you are a Christian your answer should be “yes” to both questions obviously. This is easy to say but harder to apply. Faith is an action word, and it requires a step beyond belief. Wouldn’t it be nice to always be confident in the Lord and have a peaceful mind? Of course! To really live out the belief that God is good all the time, however, you must actually have faith in Him and have a relationship with God. Both of those things do not happen on accident, and take a decision (backed by action) to develop and strengthen.
Let’s start with really knowing God and being in a relationship with the Lord. Yes it’s weird to think requiring faith instead of just belief at first. To make it even more difficult right off the bat, your goal is to be in a good relationship with God, not a bad one (big difference!). To be close with someone you have to talk to them, be honest, share in good times and bad. You ask them for things, but give as well. This is true with the Lord too. The only difference is that He remains our Lord.
Think of how you were when you met that special someone for the first time. You were hanging on their every word, could spend forever with them, and they seemed so perfect! Most people have experienced that love for someone. Most have had the feeling of wanting to know everything about a person and be intimately connected. Few think of Christianity as that though, but there it is, the truth about how to have a relationship with God. In some ways God is like us (though vastly unlike us and totally beyond us as well); He wants to be wanted, needed, and loved. He wants that with YOU! Although that can be a hard pill to swallow, once you do it is really great to have that relationship with Him.
Now how about that faith thing? I mean knowing God is all well and good, but what happens when things go wrong? Every person seems to fall from grace, God fails us too right? Wrong! Jesus never failed, He died so you can be forgiven when you fail. When things go wrong in your life how do you react? Growing distant from God during these times is like replacing the motor on your car when the problem is that it’s out of gas. Not only are you not doing the right thing, but you are causing even more problems for yourself. When the storms of life come it does not mean that there is no God or that He left you. Instead look to Him for direction and guidance. That is faith, knowing that our Father in heaven desires good things for us (even during the storms) and is guiding our life. Faith is holding on to this during the tests of life and going to God as your first resort instead of your last.
Christianity is simple, but not easy. Having faith and being in a relationship with Christ is really a simple concept when you come to terms with it. The application of this can be difficult though. Remember to keep growing in the faith, always make time for God, and look to get closer with Him. Lastly, never give up on Him, He will never give up on you.