PSALM 119:49 – Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.
THEME OF THE DAY. GROWING IN THE FAITH. God will test our faith. He will make this portion of scripture from the prophet Isaiah upfront and personal – Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10). And in His love for us, He forewarns this testing will be hard, painful, and involve suffering. Notice how Isaiah frames these words of the Lord. He uses the word “Behold” which is a word of pause, reflection, and meditation. It is like the prophet is telling us, “Seriously consider what the Lord is about to tell you. This is extremely important. Don’t gloss over this, but stop, stare, gaze, and get this lesson. The Lord is so committed to developing faith in you and a faith that leads to deeper trust in Him, that He will put you in the white-hot furnace of trying times, difficult circumstances, and situations impossible for you to escape or endure without Him.”
Do we see the challenges of life through this lens Isaiah provides for us? Or are we prone to complain about those seasons and situations in life that flat-out hurt, make little sense now, and leave us wondering, “Where is God in all this?”
One of the great challenges we face as Christians is our humanness, and particularly the remaining sin in our humanness that constantly plagues us. And the area of our fallen humanness that seems to work against us the most is our obsession, yes, obsession, with comfort and ease in life. Let’s face. We don’t want life to be hard. Oh, we can handle a little inconvenience, but bring on long seasons of difficulties and challenges that involve pain, suffering, emotional and spiritual turmoil and we may easily become sinfully irritable, impatient, and complain with a “Woe is me” attitude. And our Lord knows this. He is not callous or indifferent toward our weak frame. A great and encouraging verse to cling to while being “heated to grow our faith” in the furnace of affliction is found in Psalm 103 – For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14). But there is another truth about God growing us in the faith. It is found in the last portion of today’s scripture – in which you have made me hope.
As we read those words, do we not get the impression God “forces” us to trust Him? I remember many lessons my parents taught me by “forcing me” to get out of my comfort zone and do things; things I didn’t like, didn’t really want to do, but in hindsight were so important to the development of character and discipline. And friends, God so loves us that He will bring things, circumstances, and situations in our lives that “force” us to exercise faith in His Word and Person. We will be in places with no escape, no means of deliverance, and no comfort apart from His intervention and sustaining power. It is in those places we learn faith, prove the genuineness of our faith, and grow in our confidence in God’s Word and Person.
A testing of our faith. It must happen and God will make it happen. It is for our good and His glory. Learn to see all of life’s challenges as a trip into the Refiner’s Fire, not to hurt us, but to grow us – growing us in our trust in His always wise and good ways.
PRAYER: “Father, thank You that You love me enough to ‘force’ me to trust You and grow in the faith.”
QUOTE: “God must test our faith. It is in the testing we come to know if it is genuine and from Him .”