The hardest experience I think I have ever known was when I was in a fiery trial of my faith. Waiting on God and wondering if He was even around was an excruciating and nerve straining experience for me. When I was much younger, patience wasn’t a virtue and it didn’t come easy. Like most of American’s in the rural South, I wanted to grow up in a hurry, and wanted everything I saw. We learn very early what instant gratification is and use it as a weapon of strategy. Little did I know, I was in store to be revamped or reprogrammed, thus the fiery trials lie ahead. As a new child of God, just born into the family of God, I had this preconceived notion that I knew just what God wanted me to do in this life. All I had to do was just look around at the others in my camp and surmise what God was doing in their lives. To be sure, it couldn’t be that much different for me? As time would tell, I was in for a big surprise. For many years to come, I failed at everything I did or touched. I was constantly met with disappointment and sometimes despair, all because of this preconceived notion that I just knew for sure what God wanted me to do. I even had others, even preachers and Sunday school teachers, to tell me what God wanted me to do. I jumped through everybody’s hoop just to meet disappointment. When I didn’t perform well, others were disappointed in me as well. I’ll tell you now; I have disappointed many people in my life just because of that preconceived idea what God has in store me and my life. At times, I felt that God has abandoned me also.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you…” 1Peter 4:12
Whether we are right or wrong, God has a tendency to go into His stealth mode and observe us from a short distance. If the truth were known, God has always been so close to us, He could put His hand on my shoulder at any given time. The problem is we just don’t know it.
When we enter into a test, God will become anonymous and become the observer of our actions and what we say about the situation. In short, it is God that devises tests and grades us upon our decisions, whether they are right or wrong. We can learn a great deal from reading about the experience Job had with his friends, God, and the devil. Yes, God set the stage of events along with all the key players just for Job’s test of faith. The million dollar question is, will we pass or fail the test. That is entirely up to you and me. I have said this many times and I will say it again, bad things happen to good people. But, I want to reiterate, it is for a very good reason despite the fact we might not ever know the reason.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man…” James 1:12-13
The whole point of testing is to develop character, faith, patience, and most of all, love and adoration of the Father, Jehovah God. We can see this as we study every character in the Bible. In short, it is about growing up, spiritually. God, just like your parent, wants and desires us to grow, but not with without stress and strain. For the most part, we all seek the path of least resistance, the easy road. But God in His wonderful wisdom, will place road blocks in our path and deviate us into the unknown and scary. Who is it that knows the path that God will choose for you? That’s just it, nobody knows what God wants you to do, where you are to go, and where you are to spend most of your time, nobody knows. It’s all just, best guess isn’t it?
How desperate Job must have been when his very friends accused him of every conceivable sin he might have committed to bring this fiery trial upon himself, his wife, and children. But it wasn’t what Job had done or not done that mattered, it was what God had chosen for Job. Yes, it was what God desired for Job to strengthen him, to refine him, and polish him, so God could see himself better than before, in Job’s life. So, I guess what I am going through and what you might be going through is just to refine us and bring us to the point that God doesn’t see himself in us as He would like to right now.
Over the many years I have traveled with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, I have learned one thing that I would like to share with you. I feel that if I am going to be tested over and over and over, the best thing I can do is to get determined to pass every test. That’s right, get determined to pass every single test, no matter how intense, no matter how hot, no matter how cold, no matter if it takes my life. If we look at the lives of all the others recorded long before we came into the light, we will see plainly that they went through things that we will probably never be faced with. But by the Grace of God, they persevered by their faith and love for God. God will get you and me through the fire, but if He doesn’t, well, it gets better, let’s go home to be with Him. So as I see it, we can’t lose. We are a winner either way! If God brings us through the fire, it is because He isn’t through with us and we need to go on, plain and simple. On the other hand, if God deems for us to die for the cause, as His Apostles did, as I see it, our time was up anyway, no matter the circumstances. Sooner than later, we must realize we are not on this earth to pursue our fancy. God brought us here to perform that He wills for us and that is our sole purpose for being here. It isn’t for us to like it or not to like it; it is our lot in life that God chooses for us. Complaining about it will get us nowhere with God but just a shorter life on earth. God wants us to trust Him, that’s all. If we don’t ever learn at some point in our lives to trust God, what have we learned? This scenario was played out on the back side of the desert in Arabia when the children of Israel were led out of Egypt by Moses. If they didn’t learn and learn quickly to trust God, well, they died a premature death. That is how it works with God. Do we really know Him like we think we do? I doubt it seriously. The only way we will really get to know Him is to experience Him in the trials of our faith. If we would look close at the Children of Israel, we notice that God was never too far away that He could not respond to them. That’s it! He is never too far away to respond to your call for help in time of need. I’ll guess right now, He is so close to you, He could put His hand on your shoulder, but you just don’t realize it. I feel His presence, don’t you?
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5
This is God’s promise to all His children, no matter where you are or what the circumstances. He is right there with you. Acknowledge his presence and He will confirm it with your heart and soul. Jesus lives in our hearts and gives each of us His love and peace of mind, heart, and soul. If something is missing, ask yourself, do you really know Him?