by Mike Genung
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
There are days (or weeks, or months), when everything is going wrong and it seems like we’re being blasted with the fury of hell. The more we try to do the right thing the crazier things get.
Family relationships unwind, work problems spiral out of control, the bank account gets drained, or there are health problems. Or all of the above. You’re tired, run down. It doesn’t feel like you’ve got any strength left to fight the battle. You feel alone; cut off from help.
Sleeping for a long time sounds like a good idea.
People aren’t much help, their advice feels hollow and they can’t fix your problems.
In those moments you’re left with nothing more than a God you can’t see, and His promises.
That’s a good place to be.
There are times when the Lord allows us to be stripped down of our self-sufficiency and self-reliance, and he turns the furnace of suffering up to “super-extra-hot.” You’re screaming in agony and are wondering just what the heck God is doing.
You won’t know the answer to this until after you’re at the other end. In the meantime, endurance is key.
Just keep going. One step, one moment at a time, even if it means you have to crawl, don’t give up.
God has taught me through those furnace times that He’s always faithful and He always keeps His promises. He always has a purpose in mind and He knows what He’s doing.
Remember to look up. Keep seeking, praying, and asking for wisdom and humility. One of the benefits of furnace time is that it teaches us to pray more and with intensity. We may feel better when things are good, but it’s easy to grow spiritually dull and allow apathy to reign when we’re coasting.
No matter what you’re going through, keep going. You don’t need Christian superstar faith, just a mustard-seed’s worth. “I don’t know what you’re doing God, but I’m going to trust you.”
Forget about what you think you know about life and how God works. If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that we have no idea what He’s going to do or how He’s going to put things together. Anything can happen. Life is wild, and unsafe; not the cushy comfort thing we Americans try to make it. The Bible tells stories of people being caught up in dangerous times. Maybe God’s calling you out of the death zone of comfort and into a wild, untamed adventure with Him.
There’s no guarantee your circumstances will turn out as you want them to. That’s the dangerous part of life. It’s also the place where we learn to surrender and grow from baby faith that wants its own way, to maturing faith that says “Do what you want to do, God, no matter what.”
Ask God to change your perspective. No trial lasts forever. This is a moment in time and there is hope. You don’t know what the future holds, but somehow He will bring you through.
Although it’s nice to have the help and support of people, there will be times when we’re cut off from that and we have to rely heavily on the Lord to come through. Some of us rely on people too much and don’t really live by faith. Getting our people-crutches kicked out from under us may hurt, but in the end we’ll be stronger than before.
A mustard-seed of faith, God, and His word. If that’s all He’s giving you today to get through, then He will be enough. Some won’t discover that God alone is enough until they’re forced to lean harder on Him.