And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
and then wrote:
|Do we really believe this verse or does it just sound and look good? Perhaps the most difficult aspect of having faith and trusting God lies in the ability to hold fast to the belief that God is sovereign and that nothing happens in this life that is by chance or outside the sphere of God's influence.|
I believe this is a question we must seriously ask ourselves.
Many people will pray about something and if it comes to pass the way they planned, they say they had faith. However, what happens to their "faith" if it doesn't? If your "faith" is strong when things go your way but collapses when they don't, are you really exercising faith? No, I don't believe you are.
You see true faith, while it might be shaken at times, cannot be crushed. If you don't believe me, take a look at people like Noah, Abraham, Daniel and so many others.
Noah labored for 120 years preaching that God was going to send a flood and working on an ark. Can you imagine what the neighbors thought? Then, once the ark was loaded, it still didn't rain. They had to wait seven more days for it to happen. How many of us would have left the ark after the first day or two, discouraged that God did not do what He said He would do? I suspect that few of us would have even completed the ark in the first place. We would have become discouraged that no one was listening to us and felt that if our message was truly from God, we would see "converts". Noah however, had faith and though there may have been times he felt like quitting, there may have been times he was faced with doubt, he clung to faith and did the task God set before him.
You do realize that if Noah would not have done this, you would not be here right now for we are all descendants of Noah. I am so glad that Noah had faith!
When Abraham packed up his household and moved, it was not like moving across the country today. He was venturing out into the wilderness. I've no doubt that his neighbors thought he was crazy too. Things were going well for Abraham. Why on earth would he ever leave the safety and security of family and friends and traipse off into the unknown? He did so because God told him to do it.
Are we willing to do what God tells us to do, even if it shakes our world?
God gave Abraham the promise of a son, yet Abraham had to wait years for that promise to be fulfilled. Then after it was fulfilled, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. How Abraham's heart must have broken and yet... trusting God, Abraham made the preparation to do it. He was prepared to sacrifice his beloved son if that was what God required of him. God stopped him as he was about to go through with the act and provided a ram to be sacrificed instead. What a beautiful picture this paints of how God sacrificed His only begotten Son, the Lamb of God, for our salvation!
Then we have Daniel who as a youth, refused to eat unclean things from the king's table. Do we realize that Daniel and his friends could have been executed for taking a stand? Though their homes had been destroyed, though they had been taken away from their families and were in a far land, they continued to have faith in God and be obedient.
This faith was demonstrated throughout Daniel's life. It became his custom to pray three times a day, facing Jerusalem. He clung to the promise that one day his people would return to Jerusalem.
One day a decree was issued that no one was to pray to anyone except the king. Those who violated this law would be sentenced to death and thrown to the lions. We find Daniel's response in Daniel 6:10 (NLT):
|But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.|
He was arrested and sentenced to death...
In this instance, God delivered him from the lions but then we have Stephen who died because of his faith. It would have been so easily... so very easy to renounce all that he had said. He could have said he was mistaken, he could have apologized, said he'd never do it again and he could have gone back home that day. Instead, Stephen clung to his faith in God. He would trust and obey God no matter what and on that day, he stepped into the arms of Jesus.
In order to live a victorious Christian life, we must have faith. We must have the faith to trust God not only in the pleasant times but in the times when our world is shaken to it's very core. We must learn to keep our eyes on Jesus and recognize that no matter what happens to this body of ours, God is faithful and we are in His hands... no matter what!