Sunday, August 2, 2009

Faith is not Fail-safe


"Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise."
Hebrews 11:36-39 (NKJV)


Faith does not guarantee everything will go smoothly or ‘successfully’ (at least in the world's definition of success) in this life. Reading through the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 one may originally think that if we have faith then we will be victorious and successful in this life, seeing deliverance from a wicked generation like Noah, supernatural blessing like Abraham and so forth. However, when you arrive at verse 36 your head will spin and you will be confused if you hold the urban legend view of faith!

Trusting in the Lord may lead us into great suffering and persecution, such that it may seem like none of His promises are being fulfilled. Indeed, in the cases given at the end of Hebrews 11, all those mentioned here did not receive God’s promises in this life but they did have a powerful testimony of faith. They didn’t have Jedi-like faith that blasted all the opposition in the arena to kingdom come but they had a strong trust in the Lord that He would be with them and give them His peace and joy, even in death. They trusted Him so much that they followed him obediently down the valley of a shadow of death, not fleeing to safety on the mountain of false faith.


Lord please give me the strength to stick with You always,
Through sunny times of joy and thrundrous stormy days.
My faith in You is not based on how things go outside,
But based on your unchanging grace that melts all of my pride.


"Lord, I don't trust in you for my own benefit. I trust in you whether you take me through heaven or hell on earth. It is enough that You are with me. If You lead me through the valley of the shadow of death I will not run to the mountains of false faith but will take Your hand and trust You to lead me where I must go. Amen!"

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