Do you have times when you feel that your faith is being tested? It seems lately that a lot of people are in need of prayer, maybe because we can all be connected by the internet in a moment’s notice, and prayer chains are started that span the world!
One of my first requests to God is that the person under the trial can remain faithful, or if they are not a child of God, that this time will bring them to rely on Him. More and more I see the truth in the saying, “We are never so close to God as when we are on our knees.” Maybe you are having trials and you feel the “weight” of these situations, and a heaviness in your heart? Let’s go to the Word of God for comfort.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen; for by it the men of old gained approval. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:1-2, 6.
This great “faith” chapter in Hebrews goes on to tell of many acts of brethren who have gone on before us, and have been preserved in the Scriptures to embolden us. Please take time to read the whole chapter. We may not be facing the same challenges that these godly men and women did, but Satan has a way of knowing what might just push us over the edge.
Let me give you an example. Your friend is flying into town to meet you, and she asks you to pick her up at the airport. How would you feel if she texted you 10 times in the hour to remind you of the pick-up time? Would you feel that you have her trust? Could this be how God feels when we go to Him in prayer over something, but then continue to fret and worry about it? (I’m not pretending to know the mind of God, simply relating what I have done myself.) We seem to forget that we have a Master and Savior that knows how many hairs are on our heads (Matthew 10:30), and yet we continue to carry burdens that He has said He will lift from us. (Matthew 11:28-29) Do we not trust that God is capable? Is He not compassionate enough? Who loves His children more than He does?
When I feel overwhelmed with the days’ happenings, what better encouragement than Hebrews 11? The end of the chapter reads:
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. Hebrews 11:37-38
In all these situations, God saw them through. If they went to their death, it was a heavenly reward; or to life, it was one made stronger by what they had endured. Whatever you are facing, pray for faith that sees the hand of God on you to calm you. He helped those in times past, and He still helps us now.
For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9.
The world is watching our reactions as Christians. Will we buckle in despair when trials come upon us, or will we be a light that shines with God as our strength and refuge? James reminds us to have joy when we encounter trials, knowing that the testing of our faith makes us stronger. (James 1:2-3) We have a choice to make, when trouble comes knocking, we can sit back and become bitter, or we can let the trial make us a stronger Christian. We can choose to put on a sour disposition, or one of learning to lean on God more.
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Remember Naomi, who changed her name to Mara which means “bitter”? (Ruth 1:20-21) She had lost her husband and both of her sons in the land of Moab, and had now returned to her home in Bethlehem. But God still had a plan for her life, and He used the continual love and concern of her daughter-in-law, Ruth, to make her future a blessed one. Naomi was eventually able to “lay a child in her lap and she became his nurse.” (Ruth 4:16) Out of all the heartache that she had suffered, she was blessed to have an adopted grandson whose lineage led to Christ!
What does God have in store for you? Only He knows what tomorrow will bring. Like the hymn says, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand. But I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand.” Whatever the day may bring, we are not alone. God will see us through if we put our trust in Him. If God brings us to it, He’ll see us through it!
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
Bitter or better, you decide.
by Robin Martin
Robin and her husband, Randy, work with the Lord’s church in Rosemount, Minnesota. They are blessed to have 7 children and 10 grandchildren. She is ever grateful for the grace of God and His undying love.