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.