Can we receive grace from God form doing works, or by faith alone? James 2:26 tells us: "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead." Lutherans have struggled with this, as Martin Luther proclaimed that we are saved by faith alone. However, it's not a contradiction - the prior passage does not talk about "faith by works" - it's "faith that works."
When one has faith in the Lord, and lives life for glorifying Him, the automatic results become works. Love and faith in the Lord cause us to do good toward people and our world. In this way, we can understand that we must rely on both faith and works (as long as the works are done to glorify God, not to glorify ourselves).
When we have faith, we aren't sure if the outcome will work out for us. It is faith to know that the uncertainty we may be thrust into will be part of God's plan, even though it may not be what you envision as the plan. No matter what we do, we can't change God's plan. Did Hitler, with all his bad decisions, actually change the course of God's overall plan? No! If faced with a difficult decision, discard the definite bad choices (ones you know God would not approve of), and then pray over the other good choices. If you get no clear direction, just choose something - God won't be upset with a lesser good choice. If the course of action must change, you will probably get a message about it (perhaps in a strong dream, or some feeling that nags at you) - again, pray about a change in direction until you feel a comfort in it.
Faith shows we trust God. Faith gives us confidence in God's character - good and just. Faith is knowing God, building your life up to Him. We may have to work through very tough, very uncertain circumstances - showing our faith in the process. Faith doesn't mean it will all work out the way you think it should. Faith gives you courage to step up to the task, to stand up for what is right and just.
The above content came from my classes at church, as well as my own belief - it all makes sense to me.