Thursday, June 20, 2013

'These were all commended for their faith

To be vulnerable enough to put your life in someone else's hands. I will not lie to you... 
sometimes it is terrifying! What if I put my entire future and the future of my family in God's hands alone and nothing happens? Well now, that is what real trust is about, isn't it? The Lord has always been there to see our struggles and to reach out with an answer. I know that if you can just throw yourself onto the rock that He will surely catch you.

There is a reason why we are called as believers to live by faith! It is truly the secret to walking in every blessing of God. Walk in faith. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to trust someone else more than you trust your own great abilities.

My friend Brian shared a real life story. Recently, his friend's family of six made a 1,200-mile trek to Texas and back to visit relatives there. They live in Indiana and have four children, so these trips are both exhausting and fun. But there’s also sadness in these trips, because it is the only time we get to see my mom, who at just 63 years old has advancing Alzheimer’s disease and is slowly fading away from us.

We have, of course, prayed for her healing and believe God has the power to heal if he so chooses. But God hasn’t healed her. I don’t believe that’s because of any lack of faith or prayer in those of us who love her. Nor is it because of any lack of power or goodness in God. I believe that God both loves her (and us) and has the power to heal her.

Yet, in his inscrutable wisdom, God has not healed. And this terrible disease continues to take its course with mom’s mind and body, reminding us that we live, as do all human beings, in a world still waiting for redemption.

Every person reading this has probably faced (or will face) a similar situation. Sometimes, God mercifully answers our prayers. We wait, and it’s hard. But it’s only for a season, and then the burden lifts—the answer comes, or we get the guidance we’ve asked for, or he supplies the provision we need—and we feel assured in a fresh way that God is there and that he hears and cares.

But much of our waiting is life-long. We sometimes struggle with unanswered prayers not just for months, but years. We carry burdens over decades. We endure what appears to be the unchecked and unhindered advances of sorrow, sin, and suffering in our lives, in our world.
Though we pray, the answer doesn’t come. The burden doesn’t lift. The cancer, or Alzheimer’s doesn’t go away. Sometimes we just keep on waiting, and waiting, and waiting. What then? What do we say of this?

Sometimes God keeps us from danger or difficulty, but very often His power carries us through times of difficulty. Going through the difficulty draws us closer to Him if we maintain our faith.

If you get the idea that faith in God means that He will keep you from the struggles of life, and then God allows you to go through a painful experience, you will either live in denial or your faith will crumble. But when you learn that God will allow you to experience this fallen world, but that He will walk with you and enable you to face those trials with His power, then you will be able to respond with faith in any situation. Like Peter, you’ll come through rock-solid, ready to strengthen others.

I just remembered about having read a small write up by Bob & Debby Gass:

"These were all commended for their faith...'' Hebrews 11:39 NIV

Debbie, a radiant 37-year-old who worked at The Word For You Today in Atlanta, died after battling cancer. People everywhere prayed for her healing, including the elders at Northpoint Church. Some of those who attended her funeral wondered, 'Why?' The truth is, sometimes God heals us in response to the prayer of faith (James 5:14), other times He takes us to Heaven, which Paul describes as 'far better' (Philippians 1:23).

This raises the question: 'Why are some people healed in response to prayer and others not?' The answer is: 'We don't know, and God doesn't tell us!' Paul, who wrote half the New Testament, had a ministry so miraculous that the dead were raised, yet he confessed, 'We know in part' (1 Corinthians 13:9).

Pastor James Bradley sheds light on this difficult subject. He points out that in Hebrews chapter 11, some 'escaped the edge of the sword' (Hebrews 11:34 NIV), while others 'were put to death by the sword' (Hebrews 11:37 NIV). But notice in verse 39, 'These were all commended for their faith.' Bradley writes: 'It seems clear that we can't always measure faith by results. Faith is a virtue and value on its own merit. Our faith is not based on what we get, it's based on who we trust.' Speaking of Debbie's death, he wrote: 'She did not fail her faith and her faith did not fail her. She was, and is, a wonderful example of trusting God in the most difficult of life's challenges. She's a champion of faith, and I was inspired by her unshakeable trust and love for the Lord.'


Raj Kosaraju

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