Long Haul, Short Faith?

Most of the United States has had to endure a snap of cold weather that seems to have gone on all winter when, in reality, it’s just been around for a couple of weeks.  It’s really unusually cold with temperatures down into the teens a lot of those days.  Even here in the mountains it’s unusual for us to have consecutive days of temperatures that cold. Even those of us who usually don’t mind (and actually prefer) winter find ourselves longing for above freezing temperatures.  So does that mean the truth is out, we really aren’t winter people?  You be the judge.

A day or so of inclement weather isn’t a problem for anyone but when it goes on for days with no quick end in sight I think our true colors (including our bright red noses and discolored toes) begin to show.  We humans can endure for a minute, a day perhaps but after that comes negativity, whining and complaining. Our endurance with unfavorable things seems to be very weak.

The same observation can be applied in the spiritual realm.  We believe God when things are easy and good.  A little problem pops up and what’s our first normal reaction (be honest!). Maybe the issue is resolved in a day or two and we’re back to our happy selves.  What if the trial lasts longer?  A month?  A year?  Five years?  Longer?  How’s our faith then?  Is it still visible?  Do we still believe God; is our faith intact when we’re in a long test like it is in a short one?

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).  Is that true with cancer that a person fights for years, losses of jobs from which it takes years to recover, natural disasters from which someone loses everything, an illness of a child that’s lifelong, abuse by a family member that lasts for many years?  ALL means all. God is just as good, working things for our good at the beginning of a trial, regardless of the kind it is, as He is and will be at the end of it.

Like an athletic trainer, God uses (not causes) all these things…everything…to condition us, test our faith and grow us into the steadfast and strong believers He’s wanting us to be.  How can our faith grow if it’s never tested?  How can we believe Him to be a healer if we’ve never been sick?  A provider if we’ve never had a need?  A Savior if we’ve never realized we’re lost?  All the things we go through are “opportunities” for us to get to know Him more personally and once we’ve been acquainted with that side of God, nothing can convince us otherwise!

At the onset of whatever comes our way, let’s shift our mindset. Let’s decide to trust in Him, believe He has good intentions for us through whatever it is, no matter how long it lasts and trust Him all the way through.  Let’s understand that it’s an opportunity to get closer to Him, grow our faith and strengthen our resolve as people of faith. We’re going to be going through things, including cold weather, all our lives so why not make the most of it as we do?

Things are going to happen that will test our faith, strength and endurance; how we choose to handle them is where the blessing (or the curse) is.  Right?

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Don’t believe yourself!

What’s the dialogue you have with you? Are you like me, quick to forgive others & build them up yet grant yourself no mercy at all? When I mess up or do/say something I shouldn’t I automatically condem myself…I show myself no mercy at all. 1st John 3:20 came to life for me this morning. Even when we comdemn ourselves, convinced that we’re no good, we’re awful and just downright ugly God says…God KNOWS differently. He knows what made us say and act the way we did. His grace and forgiveness trumps our condemnation and unforgiveness we have for ourselves which is huge…because how we see ourselves and FEEL about ourselves, I believe, is the #1 things that keep us from being bold for Christ…think about it and comment. He loves us beyond the hate of ourselves, what we think, how we feel about ourselves. Above and beyond. Thank you Lord!