Rock Solid: The testing of our Faith

By On Monday, 15 August 2016 07:36
Rock Solid: The testing of our Faith

The dust is yet to settle on her grave, the memories are yet to fade and my relationship with God has seen better days. That last bit is the most disturbing because you see; I have always prided myself in having rock solid faith in God; not so much in what He is able to do (which I know is much) but in his existence and His person, the kind that weathers the storm and rises above it, unmovable and unshakeable. The past couple of months though, have stretched my faith to limits it has never wandered to before; I found myself asking God questions that in the past I considered an abomination. Uncharted waters they are but there’s comfort in knowing that He has been here before with many, men and women of old as well as those of this day and age, for that reason I must believe that this too shall pass, and there’s something beautiful at the end of this tunnel.

Men of this day and age…

There’s a man in our church choir, balding and aging by all sights, if I was to put a number to the length of time he has walked this earth I would guess between 75 and 80 years. Twice or even thrice as old as the rest of the choir yet he gives them a run for their money as far energy and enthusiasm goes. Last Sunday I found myself asking what it was that kept him going, what he knew of God that caused him to show up every Saturday and every Sunday. Suffice it to say that at his age, he has seen his fair share of the troubles of this life, maybe he lost his mother when he was twenty, lost his job at thirty five with a wife and three kids to feed, has buried countless other friends and stared at death himself from being admitted sick once or twice.

 Maybe.

Somehow he still finds it in himself to serve this God that has allowed him to go through all that. What does he know? What has life taught him about God? What has it done to his faith?

Men of old…

I find Jacob particularly fascinating; given an opportunity to describe his life on his death bed he calls it ‘’…a short and hard life and not nearly as long as what his ancestors got.’’ (Gen 47)A ‘short and hard’ life, I have thought about that many times. Jacob’s reputation supersedes him, some would say he brought it all on himself; his life was nevertheless a difficult one. He seemed to be constantly at odds with something or someone, even God himself, yet today we look at him as one of the patriarchs, one of the fathers of our faith. What did that difficult life teach him about God? What did he know about life and what did that do to his faith?

What about Job eh? I don’t even need to write much about him, if you have been a Christian long enough you know his name is synonymous with pain, trouble, loss and heartache. When you’re going through what Job did, you don’t imagine that God is going to come back and restore what has been lost. At that moment, you envision the very worst of God; abandoned and forgotten, let’s be honest we’re very much like Job’s wife and much less like Job. Sara Groves seems to be just as curious about Job as I am and I’ll probably join her in heaven in asking Job a few hard questions, wanting to know what he knew then and what he knows now; about what he wanted and what he got instead and how to be broken and grateful at the same time.

Dear David, when you write ‘… I was young and now I am old but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread.’(Psalms 37:25) What exactly are you talking about because excuse me David but, aren’t you the same guy who lived your life on the run for years, fearing that there was a mad King out there who would definitely have your neck if he got the chance? (1 Samuel 21) What about that time you ate bread that belonged to the temple because there was nothing else for you to eat? (1 Samuel 21) Did you not feel forsaken when you had to pretend that you were mad so that your life could be spared?  (1 Samuel 21) Tell me about that David, what happened that made you declare with boldness that you were not forsaken? What did all that running do to your faith O “man after God’s own heart”?  What did you learn about God and about life? Something must have happened and I want to know about it.

In this world you will have trouble… John 16:33

The Lord said that, He didn’t stutter neither did He mince His words; but like me, you probably ask yourself why. What is the point of all this suffering? What is the point of all the pain? What is the end game? Should we be looking forward to something? What is it that we can hold on to that will carry us through these seasons of misfortune?

James in his letter to the saints exhorts them to ‘’Count it all joy’’ when they go through trials because the end product of their suffering would be ‘’Perfection’’ and ‘’Maturity’’ (James 1:4). Somehow, through the process of perseverance that James describes, we are supposed to become better Christians and better believers when we go through seasons of suffering. This is just me, but I think that that process is as diverse as the numbers of Christians there are out there, but the end game should be the same for each and every one of us. A Rock Solid, genuine and perfect Faith. The kind that the old man in the choir has and that Job, Jacob and David found; I don’t know about you but I definitely want to be in the same league as these men. The league of faith-full men.

Peter on the other hand says that ‘’ ...to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing’’ (1 Peter 4:13) Interesting, no? That opposite to feelings of ‘neglect’ and ‘abandonment’ we should carry our pain and suffering as a badge of honour as a good soldier would. There is a sense of camaraderie that comes off of two or more people going through a trying moment together and it is possibly what the Lord is calling us to. Paul also writes about knowing Christ in his resurrection and the ‘’fellowship of His sufferings’’ (Philippians 3:10) I believe this’s what happens when we suffer or go through difficulty, it is another way in which we know God and our faith is all about knowing our God. Not to belittle any trouble you might be in now, but can you imagine what Christ went through and the kind of persecution the early saints went through? It should give us comfort that Christ has the power to carry us through whatever it is we might be carrying right now.

 It is in this space that our faith is nurtured into maturity and into perfection, so we ought not to run away from it. Now, I know it's easier said than done; but as you go through this season, remember these three things, that God has been where you are, that other men have been where you are and that the end product is going to be worth it.

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