Faith to Endure

 

“Why would God allow children to die?”
“How could He let innocent people suffer?”
“Why does evil run rampant over those who have done nothing wrong?”

Questions like these frequent the lips of those who were once was a faithful followers of Christ yet today live in doubt. Most often the queries aren’t intellectual objections to faith, but ones born out of deep emotional pain and loss. Uncertainty echoes in an aching soul until the only logical conclusion seems to be to reject belief in a Sovereign Loving Creator God. But that’s not the case for all people. History reverberates with the stories of believers who endured indescribable suffering, heartache and pain, yet persisted in stalwart trust in the Jesus regardless of what their circumstances on earth looked like. (Heb. 11:32-40)

Consider Job’s declaration in chapter 13. “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” (13:15) How could any man who lost ten children in a single catastrophic event, watched the fruit of a lifetime of work be carried off by thieves, suffered painful sores and the complete loss of his physical vitality, and endured the ridicule and disdain of his closest friends have declared that his trust was still in a God who allowed such tragedies? (1:13-19; 2:7-8) The answer to that perplexing question rests in Job’s devoted heart. The Scriptures describe him as one who “feared God and shunned evil” and regularly honored the Lord by offering sacrifices on behalf of others. (1:1, 5) His lifestyle of obedient faith made him rare among the people of his time (or ours) and established under him a solid foundation which wasn’t the flimsy base blessing and prosperity, but on the granite of God’s character.

Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish builders clarified the truth that Job’s life demonstrated and forged an inseparable link between obedience and our ability to survive -and even thrive- during calamity. (Matt. 7:24-27) In this straightforward story, we learn that simple knowledge and information aren’t enough to give us the strength to weather disaster. Instead, Jesus told His followers that only those who hear His words and put “them into practice” will stand strong through the storms of life. (vs 24)

Enduring tragedy without losing faith in God is wholly dependent on the strength of our relationship with Him, and according to Christ’s words later in the Gospel of John, there is also a conditional association between follow-through and depth of relationship. Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:21)

While many people boast of belief in God when the sun is shining, true submission to His instruction is the clearest and most tangible way of demonstrating depth of our conviction, even, and perhaps especially, when circumstances blind our ability to understand. (Heb 11:1; 2 Cor. 5:7) The overflow of submitting to the Lord results in a deeper relationship with Him. It’s this intimacy and personal experience with Jesus that enables us to flourish even when the rains come.

 

 

22 thoughts on “Faith to Endure

  1. I think it’s such a testimony to Jesus and as you say, the authenticity of our relationship with Him, when we can say…even still, I trust You. Life most certainly can throw some curveballs at us, but I’m so grateful for a God who desires to work all things together to make us more like Him.

  2. In my desert life i cherish the Word of my God: “Isaiah 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you”.

  3. Amen – It is all about our relationship. God has allowed tragedy at just the right time. I was strong, I was ready. It hurt but together we could endure.

  4. I cannot image living my life without Jesus. I am sure I wouldn’t be here without His intervention. While I often struggle to get into that intimate place on a daily basis, I think I make it hard. His arms are always open. We’ve endured some storms in life and He’s always proven faithful. I pray He will continue to give us a deeper faith for whatever lies ahead. Blessings!

  5. I absolutely loved what you wrote, especially “enduring tragedy without losing faith in God is wholly dependent on the strength of our relationship with him”. So very true! Our relationship with God is the only thing that can and will get us all through troubled times.

    1. Indeed! Often we have to learn the hard way of what it looks like to try to manage this life on our own. Such a waste of effort too, since He promises to be with us and sustain us through everything!

  6. Having personal experiences and intimacy with Jesus is so critical, yes. Too often we can skip that part, when it is the crux of the matter, and the part that will feed our souls when times get hard. Thanks for sharing, Karen.

  7. There are so many things that leave us asking, “Why?” and questioning God. I love that God promises to show himself to those who love him and keep his commands. When we see him, we can face the hard things, too. Thank you for sharing this with us at Encouraging Word Wednesday this week!

    1. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we got all our questions answered? But then, where would the need for faith be? God asks us to trust Him, even when everything and everybody says we shouldn’t. Thanks Charlie! PS I enjoy visiting your site every week!

  8. Karen, This is such a good post. I’m bookmarking it to reread later. There is much to learn from the attitude and heart of Job. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Job is such a hard book. All the suffering and bad things just don’t seem to make sense to us, but then maybe that’s the point… to remind us that there is a reason, even when we can’t see it. Thanks Leslie!

  9. Karen, this is such a good post, and your message is true: We need Jesus to get us through the trials in our lives. And like God did with Job, He will restore us and bring good out of every bad situation. I could have never made it through my crazy life and all the suffering, had it or been for Jesus Christ. He is our strength within us! We need God; He loves us! ❤️

    1. How anyone survives the craziness of this life without trust in Jesus is beyond me! To think you had to figure it all out yourself would make anyone descend into hopelessness. Thank you Jesus that we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose.

  10. A beautiful post, Karen. Holding on through tragedy and dark seasons are those out of the way “switchbacks” up the mountain of our faith into the ultimate faithfulness of God in our lives, as you so well illustrate it. Lovely to visit you, today. Many thanks for dropping by my little spot at The Writer’s Reverie.
    Joy!
    Kathy

    1. We have such a limited ability to understand what actually is taking place in the spiritual realm. Job’s story reminds us that quite a lot more may be going on in the midst of our difficulties than we can ever imagine. Thanks for visiting Kathryn.

    1. Following God’s commands often seems limiting, but in reality, our commitment to Him is what helps us find the path to freedom. Thanks Sue!

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