by Trisha Young
Hebrews 11:1,2, & 6: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
When I read the words from Hebrews 10 & 11, and let them sink in, I am amazed by how God speaks to me through them. Hebrews 10 talks of a time of persecution, insult and standing by while those you love received the same. It talks of loved ones in prison and confiscation of property. Then it reminds us that “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and not delay.” Yes Lord, we wait for the day when you will come and end our suffering!
In the days after my husband’s arrest our house was searched, property was taken into custody, God shined light into the darkness that was my husband’s “other life.” Our story was plastered in the newspaper and on television, and I was criticized for standing by him. Yet somehow, here I stand today. I might be bruised and beaten but I am not destroyed! If anything, the last several years have shown me what it is to have a real relationship with Christ. One that gives me hope for a future. One that is dependent on God and working to not be dependent on other human beings. All things considered, I would not trade the hurt and the hardship. Why? This is what God has used to teach me and grow me closer to Him. (I must be really hard to get through to if this is what it took.) 🙂 Thank goodness He is willing to let me hurt, knowing that it will bring me closer to Him.
The building of our faith doesn’t happen in easy times. God draws us to Him through trials. James 1:2-4 says “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” You may be thinking, “I just want relief!” I have felt that same thing many times but, by the grace of God, I have also felt the joy that only comes from hanging on to the promise that He is with me. This isn’t always the kind of happy go lucky joy that you may have felt as you laugh with a friend. Rather a kind of peace that settles deep in your soul and tells you that God is in control. So, what can we do in the heat of a trial to remind ourselves to persevere?
- Consider wrong thoughts: (Non biblical advice you received from others or lies you have told yourself) For instance the world would say “if it feels good, do it”. However, if we are truly to live in a way that is pleasing to God, then we are called to a much bigger purpose than what feels good. In fact He says “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 We live to bring God glory! We can do that even in our suffering.
- Seek the truth: Go to the Bible. Trust the voice of God as it speaks to you through the Word. Pray that He will open your eyes to the truth and encourage your heart! This will help you set your mind and hope on eternity, not on the circumstance you are facing. (Colossians 3) Allow a biblical counselor to help you if this feels too overwhelming.
- Remind yourself of God’s love for you: Commit scripture to your heart. Post it on your mirror, in your kitchen and in your car. Review it every free moment that you have. CREATE free moments for yourself. It is worth it! Maybe even put down your phone or step away from social media for a time if you need to.
I know it’s not easy to stop and reflect when it feels like your world is crumbling but consider that maybe God is trying to get your attention. He loves you! If you are a believer, your current circumstance does not define you. It is not permanent. There is HOPE in eternity!
This journey has been a long one for me. I will never claim that I have always done well, but by His grace, I am still persevering in my faith. Sometimes perseverance calls for long suffering. The good news is that He doesn’t ask us to do this alone. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) In fact, Deuteronomy 31:8 says “The Lord himself goes before us” I’m so thankful for that good news!
I never saw Jesus’ physical body. I don’t need to. God gives me confidence through faith that He is near. That He never turns away. As I face the many more days that I will be a single mom to raise our boys and provide for our family, I do so with confidence in what I hope for and assurance about what I do not see.