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Pointers along the way #435

Exercising our faith
- Jacob Ninan

Let us say we believe in God's promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (He.13:5). One simple mistake we can make afterwords is to think that from now onwards we will never feel His absence in our life! But we will, and then we mustn't get confused wondering why God has not kept His promise! The problem is not that He has left us; He never will. But we may feel and then think that He has left us. We look for recognisable signs of His presence in the form of the particular help that we need, and then when they are not there we conclude that He may have left us. As a result of this our faith wavers, we may begin to doubt Him and His word, become fearful about the future, lose hope, etc. We may even assume that God cannot be trusted in future, faith is a notional thing that doesn't work, etc., and decide to give up altogether.

In this case we were wrong to expect that when God said He would never leave us we would be able to 'see' Him by the way He would act according to our expectations. No, He is a sovereign God and He always acts according to His plans (Ps.115:3). Sometimes He hides Himself (Is.45:15), even though He is still with us, to test us. Our challenge is to trust Him even when we cannot see Him (Jn.20:29).

When we cannot see Him He expects us to exercise our faith in Him. In the above example, when we are in a difficult situation and we cannot see or experience His presence we can exercise faith by believing that He is with us and has not left us. Believing this when things are fine (when we can see Him) is easy, but believing this when we cannot see Him (when He hides himself in some difficult situation) is what is challenging to us but what glorifies Him more. When we trust in Him in the midst of our difficult situation and believe that He is with us even when we cannot see Him, we find that we receive strength to bear it and go through the situation in triumph.

Many times we expect that when we pray God will take us out of the fire. He does that also sometimes. But at other times He stands with us and gives us grace to go through the fire and come out with a triumphant faith and as better people. There are many examples in the Bible as well as in our knowledge of this kind of experience.

As natural persons we all would prefer to escape from all difficulties rather than face them, even though we know in our mind that God has a good plan for us at the end of the difficult times. But sometimes we don't seem to be able to get out of the situation or uncertainties still continue. That is the time we can exercise our faith and believe that our Father is with us, that He knows every detail of what we are going through, He knows exactly how we feel (He.4:15 KJV), He will not allow us to be tested beyond what we are able to bear along with His help (1Co.10:13), when we get through the situation God will give us the crown of life (not a physical crown) (Jas.1:12), etc. This is how we overcome (1Jn.5:4).


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