Would my faith stand?
This is a question I’ve pondered in various forms over the years. As someone who covers the news for a living, I often see people of faith tested at the most extreme levels. A father losing his 10-year-old son in a terrible drowning accident, a Nigerian schoolgirl refusing to renounce her faith despite being held captive by terrorists, a Christian evangelist facing down a devastating cancer diagnosis, are just a few of the more gut-wrenching stories we’ve covered over the years.
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I’m always amazed when I see people stand tall in the midst of terror, loss, sickness, uncertainty. To me, they are the real giants of the faith. They are the ones who truly, with every fiber of their being, put Christ above all else. There is no logical, sane reason why someone who has just lost their beloved 10-year-old son can stand, face the world, speak truth, peace, joy, hope in a time like that — unless there is something supernatural literally holding them up.
What better witness to the Lord is there than trusting him when all outside indicators say you shouldn’t? The wisdom of the world says to raise a fist at God in the midst of tragedy, to curse Him. Satan whispers in our ear, “Did God really promise he’d work everything for good? This doesn’t look very good to me.” We tremble with fear, as if the God we worship was caught off guard or powerless to enact His will during this time.
I’ve seen, sadly, a lot of Christians doing this very thing lately. They may not be directly cursing Him, but they clinging to fear, worry, anxiety, despair.
The Bible, however, tells us to react differently (emphasis mine):
“let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” – Hebrews 12:1-3
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” – James 1:2-4
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 1:6-7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
We have not been given a spirit of fear! Fear is a lie from the pit and we must flee from it at all costs. We are called to lay aside burdens, run with endurance, count it all joy, do not become weary and discouraged, have faith, glorify Jesus.
As we gear up for a prolonged battle with Coronavirus, quarantines, lockdowns, joblessness, uncertainty, fear, anxiety, need — I’ve been thinking about the question I posed at the beginning of this article:
Would my faith stand?
And suddenly, it dawned on me — I don’t have to wait for major adversity to strike me personally. Now is the perfect time to find the answer to that question!
In the midst of the great unknown, as people panic shop and cower in fear — we have a chance to emulate the peace and security that can only be found in Christ. By simply trusting God’s promises — that he indeed is working all things for good, that he is sovereign over all things, the good and the bad, we can face the world with confidence because we have a God who is able and in complete and total control, creating purpose in everything. As it is written in Isaiah 45: “I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”
We can either raise the fist at God and curse him, or we can raise a hallelujah and praise His name no matter what comes our way.
Test your faith in the small things. See how strong or weak it is. Because the answer can be found in the mundane. It can be found in the midst of a toddler’s tantrum. It can be found during a marital disagreement. It can be found when you lose a job. It can be found everywhere, every day, at any time.
A friend of mine with a young family of five has been looking for a job for the past few weeks. After finally getting an offer, the Coronavirus hit America and all chaos broke loose. He doesn’t know if the job offer will make it through the financial challenges facing the United States economy in the days and weeks ahead. “That’s okay. We’re at peace with that,” he told me this week when discussing the unknown. This is currently a family with no income and five mouths to feed. His simple comment probably didn’t seem like much to him, but it made quite an impression on me. His reliance on faith in such a precarious time for the world and for his family emboldened my own faith— it is a remarkable witness.
Without knowing when his next paycheck will be, he’s remaining faithful. What an encouragement that should be to the rest of us!
So, Christian, be mindful of how you respond in the months, weeks, days, hours, minutes ahead. Because you don’t need to wait for something big to be a big witness for Christ.
NOW is your time.
Now is your time to glorify Jesus in the mess.
Now is your time to praise His name when you’re trying to juggle school and work during a quarantine.
Now is your time to praise His name when someone grabs the last 2 packages of toilet paper at the store.
Now is your time to praise his name when the job doesn’t come through or goes away.
Now is your time to praise His name when the news feels overwhelmingly bad.
Now is your time to praise His name!
He is GOOD. His Will is unstoppable. He loves you. He has overcome the world. And the sufferings of this present time are NOT WORTHY to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Take heart, Christian.
Now is your time to share this Good News with the world. Even if it’s shared with the smallest of gestures — like telling a friend you’re at peace even if the job offer falls through — you will be amazed at how much God can do with so little!