How much faith do we have in God? Do we really trust Him? Do we trust Him with our lives – with everything we have and everything that we are?
From a personal testimony, I thought I had a lot of faith – when I was still working full time in the secular world with a big salary and a lot of benefits every month. But the moment when the Lord took it all away (I know He did because He gave me a warning and peace at least 3 months before the time), I then realized what Faith AND Trust really mean. When you still have accounts to be paid with no income.
Way back in 2003, I used to take out my pistol every night and put it in the bedside drawer next to me and then pray that the Lord should protect us and give the angels charge over us through the night. With every little sound, I would be awake and then go and investigate just to find nothing wrong. It frequently happened that I would forget the pistol still in the drawer the next morning and would then stress about it that one of the construction workers in the house could easily take it out and it is gone. But one night, as I was praying, I heard the voice of the Lord so clearly speak to me and He asked me: “Now who do you want to protect you. Do you want to do it yourself, or do you want Me to do it!” Well, the next morning I confessed and took the pistol and put it back in the safe where it still is every night since then. And I also used to drive around at night with it “for protection” you know??? But believe me, afterwards the enemy tried his utmost best to drive fear and anxiety in our lives by orchestrating quite a few burglaries and attempted burglaries at our surrounding neighbors. (even a high-jacking one Sunday night just a few houses from us).
This morning I read 2 Cor 1:3 – 10 and there are so many excellent ideas/ truth in each verse. In verse 3 – 4 it says God is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our suffering, so that we may be able to comfort others in all their suffering, since we ourselves are being comforted by God.
The lesson to be learned is that we are not alone in suffering and tribulations. God is there comforting us, but so are there other people who also need to be comforted by us in the same way we have received comforting from God. It is a two-way street. Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. We so easily forget our moans and groans through our little tribulations and that everybody should know about it and somehow help, but when we need to give to others we have a lot of excuses. It is so funny that we see our own sufferings/tribulations as enormous, but the moment when we compare it to someone else’s suffering, then our own diminish to nothing.
This morning when I read these verses and especially verse 8 – 10, we see a little bit of the sufferings that Paul and his fellow brothers with him had to endure for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He says in verse 8 : ” We were so crushed beyond our ability to endure that we even despaired of living.” To suffer so much that you even start thinking of the possibility of death? Yes, we can easily joke about it that we have been at a point of being afraid of dying because of some illness/situation, and then a bit later you were afraid that you will not die. But, these words of the Apostle Paul describes the intenseness of their sufferings and I doubt if any of us in the civilized world ever had to endure such suffering – not for the sake of the gospel.
Sometimes it feels that we are “crushed beyond our ability” and we pray and cry before the Lord to stop this process, but when He does not and time goes by, we stand amazed to see how He has kept us and provided for us in every need. He is a GOOD God and His people called Him Jehovah Jireh – The Lord is my provider! He cannot go against His own character nor His Word.
The answer of all this is also written to us in the next few verses (9-10). Paul says that it even felt as if they have received the death sentence and it is good, because then they only had to rely on God and not on themselves. This is the attitude and faith and trust that we as children of God should have. We had the death sentence over us – we were dead in our sins – but we received new life through the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we do not live anymore for ourselves but for Christ, because Christ lives in us!
Our faith and trust should be fully in Jesus Christ, that even if we loose everything, even our lives in this world due to our sufferings and tribulations, He will be able to raise us up from the dead. This is the promise that we have in Him. We cannot rely on ourselves (our own wisdom and strength) or anybody else (family; friends; banks; employers; government; etc) because they will fail you in the same way you will fail yourself. God allows these sufferings and tribulations so that He can bring us to the point where we must realize that we can ONLY rely and trust Him. That is what faith is all about. While we still have other options that we can pursue to solve our problems, then faith in God is not the one and only, final option before us. He wants to be God in our lives and therefore we need to have faith and trust in Him and in Him alone. Then you will see the miracles happen. While we are able to mess things up, God stands to the side and wait until that point when we realize we do not have any other option or plan.
At this moment the world economy is at its worst in many years, and thousands are loosing their jobs and pensions on a daily basis as companies try to stay alive. It feels that God is nowhere to be found in this mess. Will it ever come right? While this is happening, the enemy is also busy stealing, destroying and killing people (John 10:10) with fear, anxiety and depression. These emotions are completely the opposite from faith. You cannot have faith in fear, because then you do not trust God in this. I do have a lot of testimonies of how the Lord has provided for people over the past 18 months where they thought it will be impossible. Faith means – we have to rely and trust in God and in Him alone. In verse 10 we have this beautiful promise:
2Co 1:10 He has rescued us from a terrible death, and he will continue to rescue us. Yes, the one on whom we have set our hope will rescue us again,
I hope that I could have been in the position today to motivate and encourage you with this scripture, even if the going is tough. Just keep on going in faith in Jesus Christ. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is worthy to be praised and trusted on. He will come through for you and keep you and provide in all your needs.
Have a blessed day – and comfort someone else in the same way you have received comforting from the Word!