There will be multiple seasons in our life where God will test our faith. He may purposely allow us to go through a situation just to see how we respond or how strong our faith is. Is it just me, or do you find yourself getting frustrated with God on why he is allowing things to go the way you did not intend them to. Do you ever feel like God’s ignoring your prayers? He is God, and if he wanted to, he could alter any situation for any one of his children. But like any good father, God knows what’s best and will not give you everything you want when you want it. But yet, I still find myself not completely understanding what God is trying to do which always leads to frustration for me.
Being human, we are extemely limited in scope within our finite minds. God is the creator and we are the creation. We are God’s greatest masterpiece in all of the created order. So logically it wouldn’t make much sense for the creation to know more than the creator. C.S. Lewis, former atheist turned acclaimed Christian writer once stated it best when he said, “When you are arguing against him you are aguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on” God is infinite, he created me and is the source of everything. It is why we must believe in what he is doing no matter what the situation is. This is why our faith is so important, for it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen(Hebrews 11:1). How powerful is that scripture!
Abraham: a man of great faith
A great story of faith is when God tested Abraham. In Genisis 22:2, it says, “Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love–Isaac–and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” I was told that it is good to read the Bible as if you’re in the situation. For example, put yourself in Abraham’s shoes when he was asked to sacrifice his son. For those of you who have kids, think if God asked you to sacrifice your son. I can only imagine what type of reaction that would get out of most of us. But with Abraham being a great man of faith, he would obey God’s commands. In Genesis 22:6, it says, “Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together”. Tensions must of been high for Abraham, his son Issac, and Sarah(Abraham’s wife and Issac’s mother). And then it says in Genesis 22:9-14, “When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,“Abraham! Abraham!”“Here I am,” he replied.Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
So as we can see here, an angel came right in the nic of time to stop Abraham from slaying his son with a knife. This text shows that God never breaks his promises and because Abraham obeyed, God blessed him tremendously and made him father of all nations. In Genesis 22:15-18, it says, ” The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring[a] all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
God has never put us through anything to that extent, being that we are under his new covenant. But still, I’m pretty sure many of us have gone through situations to where our faith has been tested. There have many occurences to where I cannot begin to understand what God is doing, but it does say in his word,” we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” That’s one of those scriptures I have to continually state to myself, but I am naturally inclined to be impatient and want things now. In Romans 5:3-5, the apostle Paul wrote, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develop strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to dissapointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love.”
C.S. Lewis once said, “hardships prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary experience. The Apostle Paul was a man of great faith as well. Before he became one of the greatest missionaries ever, his previous name was Saul of Tarsus , and he persecuted Christians for their faith in Christ. He was a dark, dark man. Think of a member of Isis becoming sanctified and suddenly begins to passionately preached the Gospel around the world. Seems harsh, but it was true. But it also shows how there is no sin that can outweigh the glory and grace of God. Paul is a great example of faith because when he was saved, Jesus said he will show Paul how much he must suffer for his name. Quite a statement to make about someone, but Paul would become a man that would continuously suffer. One of my favorite scriptures and one that fires me up everytime is 2 Corinthians 12:8 -10 when Paul says, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” This text reminds me that it is our faith that builds us and strengthens us. Through our faith, our relationship with God grows, and we rely more on our spirit, rather than flesh. God never promised that our temporary life on Earth would be easy, but he did promise that he would never leave nor forsake us. If we find ourselves struggling, we must fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith.(Hebrews 12:2).