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 challenging 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 genuinely 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. At the same time, my colleagues continued to take training courses to strengthen their skill sets and keep pace with the 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 several employees, including a supervisor in my division. Not being able to hire a new supervisor, I was tasked with the responsibility of that unit’s direct supervision. 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, 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, 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 are 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 heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee4of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,5 to 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 think you could break me?
That you could convince me that earthly possessions were more valuable than spiritual ones, strip me of my compassion for others by exploiting inherent fears and prejudices that reside within us all,
drive a wedge between my savior and me, 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.
He who forgives me of my sins and loves me unconditionally, not you.
He who I give praise to, not you.
He who I thank each day for allowing me to wake to this beautiful world that He created, not you.
He who am a child of not you.
He who has blessed with the promise of eternal life not you for as 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, always tempting us, masquerading as good by falsely communicating 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 by exploiting inherent fears and prejudices that reside in each of us. It persuades us to create division to protect our own power and wealth. As our association with evil advances our cachet in society and swells our bank accounts, it is easier 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 our willingness to sin when we believe that sin would benefit our 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 whose views differ from ours.
How do we avoid this? It is only through the Lord that we can 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. Through our strengthened spirituality, we are guided to the path of righteousness and blessed with the courage required to rebuke evil. Through our spirituality, we can 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. Only when we 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.