Thursday, 04 October 2012
...But the Lord upholds the righteous. - Psalm 37:17
As Christians, the idea that we would ever have to die for our faith seems like a noble thing to do. We all have heard stories of the mayrtyrs who died professing their faith. In Acts when Stephen was being stoned to death a man stood by and watched, he would become the apostle Paul.
History is filled with examples of men and women who when demanded to deny Christ, refused and were put to death. What would be our reply? It’s easy to think that at this very moment it would be impossible to lie. This, such a dramatic challenge of our faith would be used for God’s glory. Us being asked to die for our faith sounds so noble and we believe it would be done without recitation. It is after all, what we believe in.
What if God asked you to watch a loved one suffer?
The biggest trial that questions our faith is not always one that happens directly to us, and yes, directly to one we love. Because we believe that we would die for our faith, it is mostly likely we unknowingly think that we must be fully living it! Being willing to die for our faith does not automatically mean we are living in it. It is a whole other dilemma when another person faces a trial, we can’t take their place. When we have to witness someone our heart deeply cares about in a trial, do our hearts not break? our soul not troubled? our eyes never dry? Our faith may be shaken as we see one we love waver in their own.
If our loved one is also a believer it does not lighten the weight of the hurt nor the pain, but we both find comfort in a peace that the Lord upholds the righteous who have been made so by Christ. I have used this example before, if a Christian breaks his leg, does it hurt less than that of a non-believer? It is true that at times in our personal trial God is silent, His silence does not equal abandonment. How true those trials drive us to the realities of religion (Spurgeon)
Being put to death for my faith is only a moment, now living a life of faith is a story. One might think that the mayrtyrs only obeyed once, but they obey many times for they lived a life loving God till their last breath. That is why they could die for their faith. What a tremendous act of faith that is, to live!
The real challenge of my faith is to have to watch people I love who are not walking with the Lord suffer. Not because no one ever shared God’s love with them, but because they have refused to walk with Him. Never has my faith been tested more than to have to stand aside helpless as the one I love suffers alone, unwilling to believe that God is there, even less the reality of Him. My prayers equal the amount of tears.
When trials come our way we know that God’s upholds the righteous, yet we question when it appears that we do not succeed. The trial continues as if nothing ever changed and our faith is questioned. It was Spurgeon who wrote “If we do as God commands, and do not seem to succeed, it is no fault of ours. Failure itself would be success as long as we did not fail to obey"
I head a story about a grandfather who had a habit of taking his young grandson along with him as he would take trips around where they lived. One day granddad asked the youngster to go along and his grandson asked, "Where are we going?”
Granddad took off without him. When he came back the youngster asked, "Why didn’t you take me?" Granddad’s reply, "You wanted to know where you were going. If you had wanted to go with me, it would have not mattered where I was taking you."
How I wish that our hearts were not so similar to that grandson but they are, should we not want to just go with God wherever He might take us? The trial witnessed and faced may seem like the biggest thing, but out willingness to submit to the providence of God is the real trial.
What is the biggest obstacle in your life that's keeping you from leading a life of faith? What can we learn from the lives of the martyrs about faith?