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Pointers along the way #257

To have faith like a child
- Jacob Ninan

It is not just that we cannot please God without faith (He.11:6), but we ourselves cannot survive testing times without it. Trials come to all of us, and sometimes they come with such pressure that we are tempted to give up. We don't know what is happening or why, and how things are going to turn out. It looks like God isn't there, and He certainly doesn't seem to be getting us out. Many Christians come to us with cliches and simplistic answers, and some others like prophets saying there must be some secret sin in our lives or we lack faith. We may feel so lonely even in the midst of our friends because no one seems to understand. Promises of God seem to mock us, and the Devil also whispers fears, doubts and self-pity into our mind. Nothing works for us at such times except a simple, childlike faith in God Himself.

I believe the faith that Job had was such. According to the theology that people including Job held those days, bad things only happened to bad people, and it was inconceivable that somebody would be suffering who had done no sin. Job himself was very much confused with what was happening to him because, try as he might, he could not find anything wrong he had done. He couldn't convince his friends about that, and they kept insisting that he was hiding something. In such a situation what comes through is Job's deep knowledge of God's nature and his unrelenting faith in Him. Look at the spontaneous expressions of his faith. "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him" (Job.13:15). "As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth" (19:25). "Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another" (19:26,27). "But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (23:10). Imagine! Job was going through a level of testing you and I have not come anywhere near, and even though he was confused and frustrated with God's ways as he saw them, he knew that God was good, righteous and just, and placed his hope on Him.

When the pressure goes up, our faith may falter at times. Doubts, fears, anxiety, discouragement and gloom may cloud our mind at times. Even if we lose temporarily like this, if we have a deep rooted faith at the bottom of our heart it will surge up again and give us hope so that we don't give up. This was what happened to Job. Our momentary failures should not be allowed to put us down. We mustn't come to the conclusion that we have no faith at all. We must recognise the fact that even though we don't have answers to a lot of questions, we still believe in the love of God for us, His wisdom in all that He does and His sovereign control over all things.

One thing that can help us at such times is to recollect what God has done for us in the past and draw strength from them. We know that they are real, and they help us to remember that God is real.