Of what value is faith that has not been tested?
It is not always possible to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the darkness of your troubles overwhelms you. How quickly your dreams and hopes can slip away when an impossible situation sends a crushing blow. Will you ever recover? Tough times bring forth tested faith. It is easier to see God in the brightness of day than it is to trust him in the darkness of night.
You are not going to understand why God allows storms and heartache in your life but that should not make you doubt his love. During those times when you are stopped by the furnace of affliction, the sea of trouble and the mountain of despair, remember that it is not a holding place but a resting place. God is keeping you near to his heart and revealing more of himself to you. Only there can you understand that at the end of your weakness is his limitless strength.
In Scripture, we read about the life and struggles of David. Although he was anointed by God to be King, David first had to fight against those who were trying to kill him. For years he was forced to wander throughout the desert and seek shelter in caves. That time of struggle brought David to the understanding that his future was ordained by God and no one could stop him from accomplishing what he started. David wrote in Psalm 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped.” In the midst of David’s troubles was a faithful God providing all that he needed for victory. The same is true for us today.
God’s plans sometimes work in mysterious ways. A friend and I went to visit a death row inmate this past week whose execution date is set for next month. He told us that he had become a believer shortly after he got to prison. He then explained to us through tears that on the day that the judge imposed a death sentence for his conviction, someone had given him a package. When he opened it he found an engraved bible along with a letter from the mother and sister of a man he had killed.
The writer explained to this inmate that although his actions had taken away her only brother and the only son of her mother, they both had forgiven him. Even while their hearts were still crushed with unbearable pain of loss, they had enough love of Christ within them to not only forgive him but to pray for him to come to the knowledge of salvation! They implored him to seek Christ and receive the gift of eternal life that could never be taken from him.
Imagine the power of that forgiveness! Because of their faith, this family was able to surrender up to God any bitterness toward this man and instead share the hope of Christ with him. It was that amazing love that brought this inmate to his knees, broken and submitted to Christ. For him, he had received a gift of mercy he did not deserve. Such depth of forgiveness can only come through Christ. I cannot remember a more powerful testimony!
When I read the letter that these women had written, it was clear that this all surpassing power was from God working through them. It was faith tested to the limit and yet shining through like light from heaven. That day a new life began in the heart of that inmate all because two believers decided to let the will of God guide them to bring unconditional love to a man who was condemned to death.
There is nothing that God cannot do in your life if you are willing to submit to his will. All the pain and struggles you face are simply the elements God uses to mold you into greatness. He has not forgotten you. Your trial is set for a time and soon your tears will turn to joy. There are no losers in the body of Christ. We are all on a path designed by him long before we were born. He has the plan and it cannot fail. Are you ready to give up your control to get God’s divine blessings? Don’t worry over your circumstance for the outcome has been decided in advance. For believers, the war is won and we are the victors. The devil himself knows that. You now need to know that too.
Dear Lord, I am praying for all who are going through a fiery trial and who may be filled with pain and uncertainty as to whether you will be there for them. I pray that you will draw them near to you and bring them your peace. Please help them to know that their grief is before you and you are working it all out despite the fact that it seems like it will never end. Comfort them, dear Jesus. Show your love to them in a very real way. Give them hope that can only come from you. Amen.
May God’s wisdom and peace be with Israel and her leaders. I pray also for the release of Pastor Saeed, an American citizen imprisoned in Iran.