My walk with Christ began when I was a meager seven years of age. One particular Sunday morning, sitting in a room at a certain church in Hollywood, FL, the youth pastor shared with us that God is holy but that we are not. He also shared that God loved us so much that He gave His utmost so that we would not have to remain separated from Him. What did God the Father give? His Son, Jesus. That day, I put my trust in the fact that Jesus had paid for every bad thing I had ever done by allowing Himself to die on the cross for my sins. So began my walk with God. But as time went on, God allowed me to be tested in many ways for me to learn whether or not I really trusted Him with my life. The Bible records many godly men and women who also were tested in their faith.
One such test was the test of circumstances. The Apostle Paul was one such person who endured some of the most trying of circumstances only to come out of them knowing Christ all the more personally. Acts 16:16-25 records Paul and Silas singing praises while sitting in a Philippian jail. Now, there were certainly better places to spend one’s time than locked up in Roman jail. Yet Paul saw the hand of God on his circumstances even then and could rejoice in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness despite his circumstances. Because Paul and Silas trusted God in their circumstances, the jailor and his whole family were converted to faith in Christ soon after (vs. 26-34).
Another test we see in the Bible is the test of integrity. Daniel was a man who maintained complete integrity and discretion even while earning a living as a high-ranking government official. Amidst political intrigue and corruption, Daniel refused to compromise his convictions to obey the law of God at that time (see Dan. 1:8) and would not partake in idolatrous practices even under the threat of death (see Dan. 3).
Yet another test was the test of time. Moses, among others, springs to my mind as one who endured the test of time. While the first forty years of his life were spent in Egypt (Acts 7:23), the next forty were spent tending sheep in the desert (Acts 7:30). But why did God allow Moses to spend forty more years tending sheep? While I cannot claim to know all the reasons the Lord had in allowing this, it seems clear that God used this time of waiting to prepare Moses. By waiting on God’s timing, Moses learned how to survive in the desert climate, an asset which would come in handy later on while leading Israel. He also learned that God’s timing often does not coincide with our timing. So often we believe that our circumstances are just right for us to step forward when God knows better. Though patience, God positioned Moses to approach the Egyptians at just the right time to bring an end to Israel’s occupation.
In all of these tests, and in others like them, we are brought back to one foundational question: Do we really trust God? Is He faithful to keep His word?
Recently, this question came back around almost “full circle” for me. In January of this year, I attended a high school and church reunion at the church where I as a child had become a believer in Christ. This had special meaning for me in so many ways. For one, I was revisiting the church I had grown up in. I had also graduated from high school there and recalled those who had invested in my spirituality. But more importantly, I had the opportunity to chat once again with my senior pastor who had preached in our church so many years ago during my childhood and teenage years. He shared his testimony with us of how God had been faithful every step of the way during his Life and beyond. During this all-too-brief time, it was as though a part of my past had come rushing into my present but with God in the midst.
Many questions churned in my mind as I drove home. I asked myself how much I really trusted God to keep His word. Also at the forefront of my mind was whether there had been some opportunities I had missed along the way if I would have but trusted Him more deeply. If we really trusted the Lord, how much could He really accomplish in us and through us?
One of the most important lessons we can ever learn is to trust in God’s faithfulness and goodness. Knowing that He is willing and able to fulfill His plans in us, and around us, will set us free to experience a deeper and more personal relationship with Him. Ask yourself is there are any areas in which you have not trusted and then resolve to turn over those areas to His lordship. In so doing, you will see Him move in ways that will make an eternal difference in not only your own life but in others’ lives as well.
Allen can be reached at [email protected].