I have been blessed in my lifetime. From the moment I was born the Lord has watched over me, guided me and protected me. The last year has been difficult for me health wise but thanks to the grace of the Lord I have been granted the strength to face the recovery process head on. Despite all my blessings there have been times when I feel unhappy and alone. When this feeling is creeping into my soul I clear my mind of all things and talk to the Lord. It is during these moments of reflection that I lean on my faith. Evil will look for the smallest of openings to pounce on you. Evil knows that we are only human and no matter how deep our faith may appear to be our spirituality can be stripped from us. Evil will endeavor to grow a moment of unhappiness into a lifetime of bitterness and doubt about the Lord’s love for us. But as I talk to the Lord I give him praise and thanks for all he has blessed me with. I pray that he will give me the courage to reject the thoughts evil is attempting to poison my mind with. I open up my heart and allow the Lord to touch my soul and guide me away from the darkness and back toward the light. It is then I can feel the power of the Lord. I can hear Him say to me my child I know you are not perfect, I know you may have moments of doubt, but I also know where your heart and soul truly reside, you have shown this to the world through your praise of me. You are now and will forever be my child and I love you unconditionally. I will guide you. I will protect you. I will help you strengthen your faith so that no one will be able to break the bond between us.
Not to toot my own horn but I was considered a rising star in my career. Having achieved success at every level I quickly rose through the ranks. While my colleagues continued to take training courses to strengthen their skill sets and keep pace with the new innovations and technologies. I chose to skip these training classes after all I was a star and what was a trainer going to teach me that I didn’t already know. Sadly due to an economic downturn the company was forced to lay off a number of employees including a supervisor in my division. Not being able to hire a new supervisor I was tasked with the responsibility of the direct supervision of that unit. Upon taking over I realized that much of what I thought I knew had evolved beyond my current level of understanding. Production levels began to suffer, people above me began to question my leadership. Self doubt started to creep into my psyche. My bitterness toward the company began to mount. How could they put me in this position? Were they setting me up to fail? Then one day my mentor came to me and said instead of moping around, being bitter and blaming the company realize that things were going so well for you it was easy to take your talents for granted you forgot what made you so successful. Recommit to your craft he said, take those training classes, brush up on the new technologies. Strengthen your area of expertise and you’ll see things will turn around. Taking his advice I put my nose to the grindstone and enrolled in the training classes, researched the new technology available and talked to staff to get their feedback on what we could do to increase efficiency. With my renewed energy and strengthen skill set it was only a matter of time before the numbers began to turn around and today the division is turning a profit at an all time high.
This story serves as a simile to our Faith. When things are sailing along in our lives we tend to take our faith for granted. But when faced with adversity many of us ask why me? Why is the Lord testing me? We become depressed at the situation and angry with the Lord. It is then that evil sees its opening and tempts us with the promise of a better day if we reject the Lord and follow it. When faced with this option many of us are easily swayed to accept evil’s proposition. After all if He truly loved me we think why would he test me in this way? But what we fail to understand is that the Lord is not testing us for Himself, he is testing us for ourselves. As someone once said:
When God pushes you to the edge, trust him fully, because only two things can happen. Either He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly.
The key part of that quote is the words trust him fully. In times of adversity it a test for us to see for ourselves how strong our faith truly is. To see if we remember that our good times were the result of His blessings. To see if our faith is as strong as we believed it to be or does it waiver in times of adversity. If it does indeed waiver we must like I did in my career put our nose to the grindstone and recommit to Him by taking steps along our spiritual journey to strengthen our faith. Remember we our His children and his love for us is unconditional. So much so that he gave us His only son so that we may be forgiven of sin. He loves us so that as it is written in Ephesians 13-14 He promised us eternal life.
13 In him you also, when you heardethe word of truth, the gospel of your salvation,and believed in him, fwere sealed with thegpromised Holy Spirit, 14 who is hthe guarantee4of our iinheritance until jwe acquirekpossession of it,5 lto the praise of his glory.
Once come to the understanding that the Lord will never abandon us and that we should not question when He will provide us with the blessings required to overcome the adversity we are facing but accept the truth that as it is written He makes all things beautiful in His time will we be able to prove to ourselves that we do indeed possess a faith that is strong and cannot be shaken even in times of adversity.
Did you really think you could break me.
That you could convince me that earthly possessions were more valuable than spiritual ones.
That you could strip me of my compassion for others by exploiting inherent fears and prejudices that reside within us all.
That you could drive a wedge between me and my savior.
That you could cause me to abandon my faith and turn my back on him.
Look again and understand this:
My faith is strong in Him not you.
It is He who forgives me of my sins and loves me unconditionally not you.
It is he who I give praise to not you.
It is he who thank each day for allowing me to wake to this beautiful world that He created not you.
It is He who am a child of not you
It is He who has blessed with the promise of eternal life not you for as it is it is written in John 6:40
For it is My Father’s will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
It is because of Him the Lord my savior that you could never break me.
In our pursuit of earthly wealth and power it is often easy to fall into the company of and work in partnership with those whose intentions are far from righteous.
Evil rarely presents itself as evil. Evil never sleeps constantly tempting us, masquerading as good by falsely communicating to us its intention to work in our favor. It blinds us to the evidence that in our association with it we are slowly being stripped of our compassion for our fellow man and are more than willing to take advantage of, subjugate and even kill each other to advance our personal agenda. It corrupts us into pitting ourselves against each other through the exploitation of inherent fears and prejudices that reside in each of us. It persuades us to create division in order to protect our own power and wealth. As our association with evil advances our cachet in society and swells our bank accounts the easier it is for our faith to waiver and our relationship with the Lord to widen.
Avoiding this temptation is not easy. We are after all only human and to be humans is to be inherently flawed. Left alone history has shown us of our willingness to sin when we believe that sin would benefit our own lot in life. We even have used our so called “religious” beliefs as an excuse to commit one of the most heinous of sins by waging war against and taking the lives of fellow humans who beliefs differ from ours.
How do we avoid this? It is only through the Lord that we are able to temper our innate desire to sin. Like with our physical bodies we must commit to an exercise program to strengthen our faith. Through daily prayer, praise and conversations with the Lord our spirituality grows. We come to understand that no amount of wealth and power here on the Earth can compare to the eternal existence that awaits us in the Lord’s paradise. It is through our strengthened spirituality that we are guided to the path of righteousness and blessed with the courage required to rebuke evil. It through our spirituality that we are able to recognize that we are weak and it is ok to ask the Lord for help in overcoming our desire to sin. It is our faith that enables us to see that spiritual riches are far greater than physical ones. It is only when embrace these concepts and give our lives to the Lord will we truly become one with the Lord and reap all the blessings that association will rain down upon us.