Ever wonder how your faith will hold up when faced with some pretty serious trials? All of us face various trials at one time or another in life. When we do, how does our faith play out in the midst of adversity? Do we rely on God more, or turn away?
Many of you know I am facing some heavy stuff. For those who are unaware I am going through a divorce. This is the first, and possibly the only, time the subject will be discussed here on the blog. It is not something that is easy for me to talk about. In the midst of that I am searching for a place to rent and trying to get my life put back together. Add some serious financial issues to that and I would say I am facing some rather serious trials at this time.
Throughout everything I have battled over the past year or so, I have trusted God and kept the faith. However, very recently my faith has been put to the test. I’m admitting here to everyone that I have questioned and doubted much of what I believe. When you pray for something for such a long time and it seems those prayers go unheard and unanswered, there is a tendency to want to give up. I think there is also a tendency to turn away. I confess that these thoughts have been on my mind. I have questioned and doubted that God even exists, much less cares. There has been so much hurt and disappointment that I was not able to overcome my doubts and fears. Until recently…
My Bible reading last week took me through the book of Job. After reading it again, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and love. First let me say that my problems are not what I would classify as “Job-like”. What he faced was much more than I can ever imagine. But, like Job, I am facing some serious things. However, unlike Job, I have questioned and doubted. Through all he faced, Job never doubted God’s goodness. Most are familiar with Job 1:21 where he says:
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life.The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Praise the name of the LORD.
If you’ve never read the book of Job I’m going to spoil it and give away the ending. Because of his faithfulness, God restores everything Job had lost and then some. God allowed Job’s suffering for a time, but then blessed him even more.
After reading Job again I was reminded of a couple of things.
- Trials test and refine faith – The book of James tells us that we should consider facing trials a “great joy” because the “testing of your faith produces endurance”. (James 1:2-3). Job’s faith was tested. He passed the test and the result was a deeper faith in God. My faith has been (is being) tested. I’m learning to trust Him more and hoping I’ll be as Job and pass the test.
- It is all in God’s time – Job suffered for a time, then God stepped in and rewarded Job for his faith. He allowed the trials, but He restored Job (his health, prosperity, family, etc.) when His time was right. It is not easy to wait for something. I’m learning, however, that no matter how much I pray it is not about my timing. Things will happen as He wants them to and when He wants them to.
In addition to Job, God gave me another good reminder this past Sunday. Our pastor’s sermon was “Defining Discipleship” and taken from Luke 14:25-35. Two things the pastor said struck me.
- Everyone who wants to follow Christ is in for full-on discipleship, or they are not in at all.
- Salvation costs you nothing, but discipleship will cost you everything.
I was reminded of my questions and doubts. The first statement put those to rest. When I made the decision to be a Christ follower it was a lifetime commitment. There is no such thing as a part-time Christian. You are either a follower of Christ or you are not. But, following Him won’t be easy as the second statement suggests. The salvation part is easy. It is a totally free gift for all who will accept it. The hard part is truly being His disciple. That is where we face the trials. We are called to give up everything – our possessions, time, devotion to others – in order to fully follow Him. That ain’t easy!
So, with all that said here is where I stand today. I’m still facing the same issues (divorce, financial, job, housing) as before. The difference is how I’m viewing these difficulties. I’m not yet to the point I consider them a “great joy”, but I realize that trials test my faith and produce endurance. I’m trying to look at everything I’m going through as a stepping stone in my faith walk. No matter what I face, He is with me. I believe that He has great things planned for my life. I’m learning to be patient and wait for His time. While I wait I pray I can be like Job and keep my eyes focused on Him. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Praise the name of the LORD!