The testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:3)
One of the most comforting things I encounter when reading through sacred Scripture is to see the giants of the faith failing tests as badly as I do. I would expect these great heroes of the Bible to pass every test God sent their way with flying colors, going from strength to strength, but more often than not, they failed.
How is with you? How are you handling the test that is this COVID pandemic? Read on and be encouraged today!
If I were to read through the Bible and all I discovered were strings of unbroken victories in the lives of the saints of God, I would become extremely discouraged when looking at my own life. But when I read about Abraham, the father of the faithful, refusing to trust in the promises of God and trying to pass off his wife Sarah as his sister to save his own neck—not once but twice—I understand that our God graciously chooses to do His work in and through broken people . . . people just like me and you.
David, whom the Scripture identifies as the man after God’s own heart, stumbled badly in his walk with God on more than one occasion. He faithfully followed God, killed the giant Goliath, spared Saul’s life, secured the throne in Jerusalem, and protected Israel from all God’s enemies. But then, at a time when he should have been leading his army into battle, David stayed at home and seduced the wife of Uriah the Hittite, who was away defending Israel in the conflict that David should have been directing. David’s adultery resulted in the woman becoming pregnant, so David brought her husband Uriah back from the battle to try to encourage him to sleep with his wife to cover David’s sin. When that scheme didn’t work, David sent Uriah back to the battle, and secretly ordered that he be sent to where the battle was fiercest and abandoned there. Uriah was killed, and David took his wife to be his own.
These and countless other biblical stories of failure and brokenness are sources of great encouragement to me, not because I tried to pass off my wife as my sister or slept with another man’s wife, but because the unfaithfulness of Abraham and David represents the unfaithfulness in my own life. Every one of us goes through times when we fail a test and give in to the sins of faithlessness and disobedience. I have learned over the years that all of life is a test and a trust; God is testing us to trust Him, and He does it for the singular reason of conforming us to the image and likeness of Christ. And when we fail the test, God graciously uses that failure—not as an opportunity to punish us, but rather as a means to grow and mature us in our faith.
Always remember, Christian, that you are not held in your relationship with God because of your faithfulness to Him, but rather because of His faithfulness to us. So regardless of how faithful or how faithless you have been during this time of pandemic testing, know that your God is faithful and has promised to bring you through to the other side of it. When the waves of challenge wash over you, remember that Jesus walked on those waves and has everything in your life under His complete, sovereign control, even when things seem most out of control.
There is only One who never failed a test: His name is Jesus Christ, and one day we will be like Him . . . but not until we cross the Jordan and enter into glory.
You are in my prayers and in my heart.
Purpose and Passion,