Imagine waking tomorrow morning, discovering that an angelic messenger visited in the night. On the bedside table, you find carefully placed plane tickets along with a note. “I’ve made arrangements with your boss. I have some things for you to do. I’m with you every step of the way. Love, your Heavenly Father.” Ridiculous? Of course, it is. It doesn’t work that way, does it?
It’s a small thing, but I believe God has tasked me with encouraging all who come, by presenting a positive, scripturally-based explanation of the Gospel. I post every Tuesday at seven a.m., “rain or shine.” I am not permitted to “phone it in” or offer random Bible studies, (though there’s nothing wrong with random Bible studies). If God doesn’t supply a thought, nothing gets posted; that’s our agreement. On a weekly basis, I pray and listen; I wrestle and wait to hear what I believe is the message for the day. Some weeks it’s easy, and I receive scriptures and ideas nearly faster than I can type them. Other times, it’s hard; I struggle with muddled thoughts, and the words don’t come. “Does God really want me to do this?” “So many people do this better than me.” To be honest, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to quit; yet, God is faithful week after week in spite of my wavering.
That’s Why It’s Called Faith
I’ve walked with God for a few years now. I’ve served as a pastor; I’ve served as a layman. Truth be told, there were years I didn’t really serve at all. I remember a few powerful seasons when the seed of the Gospel sprung up nearly anywhere it was sown. There were also decades when the ground was hard; the sun was hot, and it seemed no one had the time or interest to hear God’s Word. This contrast is an old problem. It’s why the Apostle Paul wrote to his young apprentice, Timothy,
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;” (II Timothy 4:2 NASB).
Reading Hebrews 11, the “Faith Chapter,” we see a common thread in the saints who preceded us. Each of them pleased God through faith, and their faith was defined by persistence, by tenacity, by a rock solid belief in the faithfulness of God. God promised Abraham and Sarah a son. For twenty-five years, Abraham’s daily “job” was to awaken and believe in God’s ability and intent to deliver as He had promised.
A Christian’s Hardest Task?
So what are the struggles and trials that unite us in the rich faith history of God’s people? We all know those select days when God’s intentions and plans are clear as the noon-day sun. The hard seasons are the times in between when, like Abraham and Sarah, we have nothing to do but wait. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he points out that the promises of God are both “yes” and “amen” in Christ.
“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” (II Corinthians 1:20 NASB).
Even so, if “yes” represents the promises of God and “amen” is their fulfillment, we cannot know how long we might wait between the two. It’s important that we not get lost between the “yes” and the “amen.” Our Heavenly Father crafts the character of Christ in us with a long view. The Creator, for whom a day is as a thousand years, measures our progress in years, not in minutes. He eyes His artistry in our lives over decades, not in days.
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13 NASB).
Many thoughts arise from this single verse. Nevertheless, today’s message is just two simple words, “stand firm.” When you’ve done all God has given you to do, there is nothing left to do but “stand firm.” This instruction is the essence of faith. For me, it’s the greatest challenge of my walk with God. Are you in a difficult place? God knows how much you long to hear His voice and see Him act on your prayers. God’s promises to you are “yes” in Christ. You will hear, and you will see in due time. Let’s stand firm, my friends; for our God is able to make us stand.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25 NASB).
What are your biggest challenges as a Christian? How has God strengthened you to stand?
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