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Pointers along the way #690

Faith under test

- Jacob Ninan

For many people when their faith is under test, the question that is bothering them is, "Is God really able to do this?" These are people who don't know God. Perhaps they have heard about God from other people and now they are wondering about Him with respect to their own situation. Some others know that God can do anything, but their question is, "What is the Lord going to do for me?" Knowing about God's ability is different from knowing His will. There are many things about God's will that are revealed in His word, and we can expect God to do them for us. It is unbelief not to expect that. But there are things God has not specifically promised to do for us. As children going to the Father, we have the freedom to ask Him anything we wish to have (Jn.14:13,14). But just as children get to know that their father will choose what they will receive from him, we must know that our Heavenly Father has enough wisdom to know what is good for us. We must know He will only give us what He chooses to be the best for us (1Jn.5:14).

There is a deeper level in which our faith is tested, when we don't get what we ask for! We would imagine that when we are in a difficult situation and we know that our Father is almighty, He would step in and deliver us! Or, we would think that if it is a good thing we are asking for, He would surely give it to us. But God's silence or inaction leaves us perplexed. At this point we are tested concerning His character -- His love and compassion towards us, His awareness of the details of our life, the trustworthiness of His promises, His forgiveness of our sins, etc. These tests are hard to bear, coming on top of the practical struggles we are going through.

This test strikes at the core of our faith -- what we think about God at the bottom of our heart. Is He really a good God, can He be trusted, is He angry with us in His holiness and righteousness, if we can't expect Him to take care of our problems on earth how can we trust Him with heaven, etc. We can be sure when we get to this place that Satan will be around with his plans to steal our faith and destroy us (Jn.10:10). He has thousands of years of experience in placing doubts and insinuations against God in our mind.

Instead of giving in to Satan's suggestions and getting deeper into confusion, we need to encourage ourselves in the Lord (1Sa.30:6). What we can do is to remind ourselves about the incidents in the Bible where God preserved His people, hundreds of other Christians who have held on in faith (He.12:1) and our own experience with God in the past that shows us that He has not failed us in the end. If we persevere and endure the time of testing, the Lord will give us 'the crown of life' or crown us with life (Jas.1:12) -- we would have partaken a little more of the nature of Christ. Greater than that, wouldn't the Lord be delighted to know that we trusted in Him even in the midst of adverse situations? And we wouldn't be put to shame!


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