I have been struck lately by this idea: God grows our faith through difficulty. It would be great if we grew in the easy times! We could have our cake and eat it too….easy life and deeper faith! Life with Jesus doesn’t work out like that. Our faith grows through adversity, through the hard times, in the difficult hours. This morning I turned to Hebrews 11. I wanted to read about the men and women of God who walked by faith. What was their life like? What did they encounter? Many good things are mentioned…many tough things are mentioned as well.
Hebrews 11:36-38 says, “Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated – of whom the world was not worthy – wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (ESV) Life was hard for most of them. We don’t even have their names here! The world wasn’t worthy of them and God doesn’t even give us their names. But their faith in the Lord sustained them. Their faith allowed them to suffer, endure, and come out victorious.
Chapter 12 follows with instruction for each of us. The author says we have such a group around us so we should 1) lay aside every weight that hinders us 2) lay aside sins that pull us from God 3) run with endurance God’s path for our lives 4) look to Jesus – who endured the cross and endured hostility from sinners 5) endure for the sake of discipline – because God disciplines His children 6) lift our heads and strengthen our knees 7) strive for peace and holiness 8) have no bitterness or sexual immorality 9) and be grateful for our unshakeable Kingdom! What a list. We are called to walk by faith, endure all things, have joy in the midst, and glorify Jesus. We do this day by day. Hour by hour. At the end, our faith is stronger. He allows these times in our life so that our faith will grow stronger.
In your hard time, how are you doing? Is your faith growing stronger?