Strengthening Our Faith

“…now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—
of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—
may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen him, you love him;
and even though you do not see him now,
you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
for you are receiving the end result of your faith,
the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:6-9 (NIV)

The verses for today contain some good news and some bad news. First, the good news. We can increase our faith and the strengthening agent is readily available to us all. The bad news is that our faith grows in the soil of adversity. There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity as far as the Lord is concerned.

A.W. Tozer is quoted as saying, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” Tozer is right in this comment. Those who suffer look not to a theologian for comfort and wise counsel. Rather they look to someone who has already travelled the lonely road of suffering for a time before them. I recall a dear lady writing to me in 1989 when she learned I had just been diagnosed with cancer. She had cancer surgery some 10-12 years earlier and was a survivor. She certainly got my attention when she said the Lord gave her grace for each day and quoted appropriate Scripture to me. Experience speaks clearly and with authority.

Then we have the suffering Saviour to look to for help in times of adversity. This is the best help in such situations. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) reads,

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

As long as you look to the Lord the grief will be patiently born. The doubts come when we stare at the problem. Faith will grow when the Saviour is in view. But when we look at the storm as Peter did (Matthew 14:27-31), we will begin to sink. We will find our vision clouded with doubts until our eyes focus once more on the Lord Jesus.

So then, when trials come, and they will, endure and grow your faith by setting your eyes on the Lord of glory and not on the problem itself. Look at the problem long enough to find a solution. If you cannot solve the difficulty, then look to the cross and let your troubled heart be bathed in the abiding love of our dear Saviour. Read of His wonderful attention to the hurting, the needy, especially in the Gospel of Luke.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace

Helen Howarth Lemmel

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