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How to stay faithful during spiritual trials

Updated on July 16, 2017
Exhausted runner
Exhausted runner
Don't give up!
Don't give up!

Habakkuk 3:17

I Will Sing - Don Moen

Don’t Give Up!

I have been having wonderful, wonderful times of reflecting on God, silence before and conversations with Him. After my serious derailment of the previous weeks and probably months, periods of disillusion and trials when my prayer closet was not as comfortable to me, I slowly kept picking the pieces that were my commitment, returning to the father just so I could hold on to his garment with deep sighs.

There are seasons of dryness in our lives as Christians, periods of trials that are not unlike Jobs’ in which our faith is tried and we feel like we have lost something. If we embrace these seasons and keep our eyes focused on the master, we will be renewed, strengthened and revived way beyond our wildest imaginations. It is in these seasons when we discover other characteristics of God i.e. that there is nothing too difficult for Him. In reality, we theoretically believe that God can do anything but we have no way of proving that until we have experienced it. What we call faith is sometimes just positive thinking that heavy trials can easily snuff out.

When my dear father was very sick with the debilitating effects of a stroke, his blood sugar and blood pressure were going out of control and doctors were finding it hard to stabilize him, that was one time when as a family our faith was truly tested. We believed in a God who was a healer all our lives. We had seen healing miracles on television and even to a small extent experienced them in our own family. But we were dealing with a different monster at this time. At age 62, my father was so sick, he could not talk, walk or help himself in any way. Medical science was not helping much. That was when we all cried out to the Lord. For me, thousands of miles away from my family, not able to see my dad and feeling the weightiness of his sickness more than anyone else, was completely mortified.  Realizing that I had no power to heal my dad just by positive thoughts, I took all that was in me and involuntarily fell at his feet in helpless surrender crying, heavy deep sobs that shook my whole being. I realized I was helpless, I could not manipulate God into doing anything, faith was truly knowing that it was all in his power. That was when I found rest, at his feet.

I have been listening to a wonderful series of lessons about Job on Radio. The teacher whose name I do not know yet takes listeners through the book of Job talking about adversity and it is truly very interesting. I have been through the book of Job with another teacher who had a view unlike any that I have heard but that was thoroughly interesting and cast a new perspective on how I viewed God.

The most interesting thing about God is that He has his children sharing the word everywhere, all the time and if we are humble enough to listen carefully, we will hear him speaking to us in different ways from different points. Is He not a God of diversity? A God who has given us variety in nature and who tells us that there is always more to what we see if we are willing to learn from Him. Our Radio minister gets to the point Job declares,

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: 

In his exposition, the teacher says this is the most profound and beautiful phrase that could be uttered by any child of God (I had uttered it many times before myself as a younger Christian revealing my inner dedication to God; that, even if things turned against me so much, if I knew God was ignoring me, I would still trust Him). 

Well, my teacher in Bible College sort of had a different spin on it and it was very interesting and humbling to listen to. In his eloquent exposition (for I had never heard Job taught in that way), he countered that; Job is being very self-righteous in the circumstances. By uttering those words, he actually makes God less righteous than himself. It is as if there is a point at which God decides to do something really unholy and persecute his children, but they choose to remain righteous and still serve him! My teacher went on to say that, Job was ignorant, he might have had sentiments that at first sound pious and great but he did not really know God. If his adversity had not brought Him to a level where he began to question God, we would not have known that Job was not aware that God was not capable of doing evil to His beloved children. The devil was afflicting Job, not God. God’s love and mercy are unfailing. Job discovered at last that the Lord would not slay Him, but He, Job, was capable of doubting Him.

Sometimes people ask for prayer or fast thinking that it is a magic wand that would bring the answers they desire from God. From experience and knowledge that God gives many times, one is able to tell that some prayers may take longer in being answered than others. In such circumstances you encourage the people you are praying for to focus on God and not on the answer that they need. Normally when the need is really pressing, you may be considered an enemy. God does want to answer our prayers but sometimes it is for our own good and learning when the answer delays. A delayed answer to prayer is, a lot of times, an extension of God’s hand asking us to walk a little closer with Him so we can get to know him better. But we get upset, disillusioned and just give up. We have to learn not to give up on God, He has not given up on humanity otherwise our world would have perished a long time ago.

Sometimes well meaning brothers and sisters will tell us in no uncertain terms that we are not praying enough or our prayers are amiss if we do not receive answers when we expect them. They may even imply that there is sin in our lives that needs to be cut off (I do not dispute that sometimes it is like that, not always). But, as I said, when our eyes are focused on God we soon learn that He always has our best interests at heart. In the case of my father, one day the Holy Spirit assured me that the seed of healing had been planted, we would not experience instantaneous healing but eventually it would come and he would be fine. Many people including my own dad were strengthened through that trial of sickness and weakness of body. It is almost three years now, but my father has been on the rebound, many including strangers that hardly knew us before call him a miracle. I learnt to trust in God and not waver in the face of His promises. My family learnt to stand in prayer and believe in a God who is capable of so much goodness, no matter what.

What are you going through today? Please do not give up. As you face your next trial of faith or long wait, ask yourself what it is God wants to teach you in the circumstances because there is always something.

Finally be encouraged from the lyrics of the following song:

I Will Sing lyrics

Artist - Don Moen

Album - I Will Sing

Lyrics - I Will Sing

Lord You seem so far away. A million miles or more it feels today.
And though I haven't lost my faith, I must confess right now that it's hard for me to pray. 
But I don't know what to say and I don't know where to start.
But as you give the grace with all that's in my heart.

I will sing. 
I will praise even in my darkest time through the sorrow and the pain.
I will sing. I will praise.
Lift my hands to honor You because Your word is true. I will sing.

Lord is hard for me to see all the thought and plan You have for me.
But I will put my trust in You. Lord will meet Your guide to set me free.
But I don't know what to say and I don't know where to start.
But as you give the grace with all that's in my heart.

I will sing. 
I will praise even in my darkest time through the sorrow and the pain.
I will sing. I will praise.
Lift my hands to honor You because Your word is true. I will sing. (2 times) 


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