Friday, October 7, 2011

[day 7] testing

My quiet time today finished out Acts 21. In this chapter, Paul has finished several missionary journeys and headed back to Jerusalem, where, what else but more persecution, awaits. The synopsis in the book I am using as a guide says, "Faith is not faith until it is tested." Paul's faith seemed to get stronger and stronger through every imprisonment and beating.

I introspectively turned to consider my life... it wasn't outside persecution, but my faith was tested when we lost Nathan. The very title I held, mother, was compromised. I still had Lynn, yes, but by losing my son, it was also a hit on the "job" I held, part of my identity.
My husband, close to two years ago (20 mos after losing Nathan), very similarly has his faith tested when he lost his job. He had to recheck his identity and his purpose when his title was taken from him.
This morning it hit me, as we have described these two losses as something very different in our lives. But honestly I think the trials were more similar than we've thought.

These trials as they were, have demanded actions of faith from us. Well, let me rephrase that. They have given us opportunity to display our faith. Would we continue to declare the truth - with our actions and words? We could have used these loses as excuses. Excuses to turn to find fulfillment elsewhere, excuses to turn our backs on God. Don't get me wrong, I am far far from perfect. At times we did turn elsewhere. We looked to find comfort in earthly things... past times like shopping, work, or internet surfing... emotions like deep sadness or anger (not that these emotions themselves are wrong, but by lingering in them or actions were un-Christlike in consequence)... relying solely on other people like friends, spouses, or characters in a book.

Kay Arthur writes this end-of-the-week synopsis in my study book:
Are we going to turn back, to not declare truth if it costs us our freedom? [or for us, our "perceived identity," as our persecutions were not physically restricting.] How dare we! How will we never face our Lord without shame? How will we look Paul [main 'character' in Acts, amazing enemy-turned-follower of Christ] in the face in our eternity, when he was our example of what it meant to be a follower of our Lord?
Shame. Yikes. That's the last thing I want to feel when I face my Lord at the moment of my death. I long for His embrace as a faithful servant. In the hard times and the easy.

Kind of a deep subject today. 
I don't know if you are facing trials today or not, but may I encourage you to fight the good fight of the faith. Don't let what might be a very real excuse, keep you from the Savior.

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