Faith Under Fire
By Mary Ann Collins
The Apostle Paul wrote nearly a fourth of the New Testament. He
had amazing revelations about God. Much of our theology is based
on his writings. Yet he said,
"For we know
in part, and we prophesy in part." (1 Corinthians
Paul includes himself among those who only know "in part". If
the Apostle Paul only knew in part, then no church, no
denomination, and no individual has all the answers. All of us
have areas where our understanding is limited.
What will we do if things don't make sense to us? Will we become
offended with God and abandon our faith? There was a time when
many of Jesus' followers became offended with Him and left Him.
The twelve Apostles were troubled, but they were loyal and
"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no
more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go
away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go?
Thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:66-69)
There was a time when King Nebuchadnezzar commanded Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego to bow down and worship a huge golden idol.
If they refused, they would be thrown into a fiery furnace. They
answered the king,
"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from
the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine
hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we
will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou
hast set up." (Daniel 3:17-18)
What will we do if the unthinkable happens? Will we be faithful
to God no matter what? Or will we only be faithful if things
work out the way that we think they should?
The Apostle Paul said,
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I
am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am
persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed
unto him against that day." (1 Timothy 1:12)
Notice that Paul said "whom" (a person), not "what" (theology,
understanding, Scripture interpretation, etc.) Paul's primary
confidence was in the person, Jesus Christ. And that is where
our primary confidence needs to be.
The Bible says,
"Wherefore take unto you the whole
armour of God, that ye may be
able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to
stand." (Ephesians 6:13)
This says that we can expect to have to face at least one "evil
day". You may know people who have had to face a number of them.
But even though that time may be incredibly difficult, God will
enable us to stand if we cooperate with Him. Jesus said,
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have
peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good
cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
According to Jesus,
tribulation is a normal part of life. It is
to be expected. The important thing is that we can trust Jesus
to get us through it.
The Bible tells us,
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine
own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall
direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the Lord,
and depart from evil." (Proverbs 3:5-7)
What if something happens to us which doesn't make sense to us?
What if it seems to be contrary to what we were taught by our
teachers, or pastor, or our Study Bible notes? What will we do?
Will we call God a liar? Or will we say that evidently our
teachers didn't fully understand (or adequately explain) that
issue? Will we become bitter against God? Or will be choose to
trust Him? Will we turn away from God? Or will we turn to Him
for strength and comfort and wisdom?
God promised to make everything work out for our good if we love
Him. (Romans 8:28) When the pain and the tears come, will we
trust God to bring good out of our situation?
We can ask God to increase our trust in Him and our love for
Him. We can ask Him to make us faithful. We can ask Him to
enable us to stand with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, to be
determined to be faithful to our God no matter what happens to
Armor of God