Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Trial of Faith

If you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you —Matthew 17:20

Really?  Is that true?  Nothing?  Then why couldn't I start my car this morning?

We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, and it may be so in the initial stages. But we do not earn anything through faith— faith brings us into the right relationship with God and gives Him His opportunity to work. Yet God frequently has to knock the bottom out of your experience as His saint to get you in direct contact with Himself.

It is true that I tend to think this.  I keep thinking that if I have enough faith, then things will go somewhat easily for me.  The problem is that God never promised this.  Instead, he promised the opposite...that we would have trouble in this life.  I'm thinking of the Apostle Paul who had all sorts of trouble for his faith...and eventually martyrdom.  I'm thinking of believers in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia...where it is downright dangerous to profess Christ as your savior.  Life is no picnic for those people of faith. I do have trials...but they are really a cakewalk compared to some people's.  Mine are somewhat trivial.  Yesterday I had a flat tire in the rain.  A trial? inconvenience.  I have Triple-A membership and there was a nice store for me to stay in and keep myself warm and entertained while I waited for someone to come.  Today my other car would not start when I attempted to leave for a day of substitute teaching.  A trial?  No...another inconvenience.  I went inside, called the school.  Within a few minutes they called back and told me they had already found another sub.  I have a warm house to stay in and I can catch up on laundry today I guess. Disappointing because we need the income, but we have food to put on the table.  Plenty of it in fact.  

Then God withdrew His conscious blessings to teach you to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). 

I really have had terrible times of trial...which I lived through, by God's grace and mercy.  I do in fact know what it is like to be absolutely tested and stretched to the breaking point.  I know what it is like to cry out to God in the depths of despair and feel nothing but utter darkness.  It was during that time...that I had to choose to walk by faith.  It was a choice that I made in my mind as I battled against the darkness.  I did not feel any hope at all...but I decided to believe and choose to live. (yes...literally choosing to live over the other choice of ending my life)

Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried.

Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive.

I guess this is what I was talking about when I described my circumstances as "inconveniences."  I watched the news last night.  The people who lost their homes due to hurricane Sandy-theirs is the real trial.  I woke up to a few branches and whole bunch of seed pods on my lawn from the tree in my yard. (Impressive? Not really.) Not being able to find a job and being financially strapped right now?  Is that the result of simply being alive or an actual trial of faith?  Sometimes it is actually hard to tell the difference.

Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). 

No one is trying to slay me...but it would be easy to slip into anger and self pity or complaining about my circumstances.  I am choosing to remain true to God's character in all of this (or at the very least, try to do this).  I will not complain. I will thank him for who He is and what He has done for me.  I will thank him for a warm house and for laundry.  I will thank him that he loves me and that he really does have a plan that includes my best interest (Jer 29:11)  

1 comment:

  1. It looks like once again I managed to write a comment and neglect to post it. What an inconvenience! :)

    Thank you for the reminders and encouragement.