It’s our month of resurrection. But permit me to share something the LORD is laying in my heart within these past few days.
Some things happened this past week that pulled me back to my bed to think some deep thoughts
First, my sister lost her son. And he was only 33.
This happened even as my sister was recovering from some emotional situation. She and I had prayed earnestly and she was getting better, and was even writing a book to share her story. Then all of a sudden, this happened.
“God, couldn’t you have prevented this from happening?” I queried.
“Why now, LORD?”
I was sad, very sad.
For two days, I was withdrawn. I kept thinking how irrespective of our prayers this young man died.
Thank God, my sister is accepting God’s comfort. She would later say to me, “Brother, when I looked at the body of my son and prayed, I had peace.”
Yes, sister. “…The child is not dead but asleep (Mark 5:39). He’s away from the body, but present with the LORD.
But there’s more…
There are two sisters in Christ who have also become like my sisters. Though we reside in different continents, like many others, they follow our teachings, prayers, books, blogs and all. Recently, we began to pray and intercede on the phone over some situations in their lives. Unfortunately, it seemed that the more we prayed, the more things got bad.
Let me say here that I have seen great answers to prayers that even astounded me. I have seen simple prayers of “It is done in Jesus name” produce great harvests of joy and breakthrough.
It’s not a question of does God answer prayers? I know He does. I know that when we pray according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, we know that we receive that which we ask of Him (1John 5:14-15).
But in these last few days, I seem to have gone back to that question room again, asking myself,
“LORD, what is happening?”
My heart is breaking over these issues. I want to see supernatural intervention in the lives of these great children of God as we intercede. “What should we do LORD?”
Unfortunately, the answer I’m getting right now is:
Ok, maybe not complete silence. I could hear some thoughts welling up inside of me, though not exactly what I want to hear. I can hear the words, “The trials of your faith.”
I believe these are God’s Words and we’ll need to look at it for instruction for such a time as this.
So what’s that?
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. – James 1:2-4
In this scripture, James is not saying we should be happy when we fall into sin. That’s not the kind of temptation he is talking about here. He’s talking about the trying of your faith.
If you fall into sin, repent. Cry out for help and mercy.
Don’t say, “Well, LORD, You know, I just fell into sin. I am very happy right now.”
You shouldn’t count it joy when you fall into the temptation of sin. We know that’s not what James meant.
So what is this trying of your faith?
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The Living Bible (TLB) puts it this way:
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. (Hebrews 11:1 – TLB).
Did you see that?
Simply put, the Word is saying that what you are expecting and praying for, and confessing is surely going to happen. Yes, your hope is waiting for you, even though you do not see it.
But according to James, this faith might be tried.
Some of us are going through this trying of our faith right now. Some have gone through it in the past. Some will go through it eventually.
Somehow, we all go through some kind of trial of faith.
And make no mistake, sometimes it can be very fierce.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you (1 Peter 4:12 – KJV)My friends, don’t be surprised at the painful things that you are now suffering, which are testing your faith. Don’t think that something strange is happening to you (1 Peter 4:12 – ERV).
Why do we go through this trying of faith?
First, I believe it’s because we live in a wicked world, governed by wicked and dishonest men, whose hearts are hardened to the ways of God.
Secondly, our redemption in Christ is an ongoing process until we meet with Christ. Until that happens, there’s going to be some kind of trial of faith from time to time.
Thirdly, there is also a continuous spiritual warfare against our faith. The devil is doing all he can to plant doubt, fear, backsliding, and all the other negatives in our minds. But he will keep failing
(See Revelation 12).
What is the trying of our faith?
The trying of our faith is relative and varies to each individual. That means your own trying of faith is different from mine, and that of the other believer. To some, their trying of faith is about the public confession of Jesus Christ. To some, it’s about the challenges of life that they are going through.
I believe that the trying of your faith is also the testing of your faith in Christ in relation to your earnest desires and prayers. I believe that it is the times that things seem to be getting worse even though you are praying, sowing seeds, doing powerful midnight warfare prayers, and making powerful confessions and declarations for a breakthrough.
You’re doing what you’re supposed to do, standing your ground and continuously resisting the devil. Yet it seems that you’re not doing enough. The pains seem to be increasing. The bills seem to keep rising. You can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong.
Beloved, your faith might be going through a test.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. God isn’t saying, “I need to try your faith, so I’m going to do all kinds of things in your life to see if you can still trust Me.”
No. God isn’t trying to figure out whether we have faith.
I believe that all of these trials are orchestrated by the manifold wickedness of the devil, his agents, and dishonest and corrupted minds in the world that we live.
However, in it all, God establishes us in a closer relationship with Him more firmly.
Just like the three Hebrew boys, it’s intended to impact our resolve positively. To make us say:
“Well, LORD, You know, I’m going to press hard, pray hard and believe You for a supernatural deliverance in this situation. But whatever happens, You’re still my God.”
The Bible says:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. – Daniel 3:16-18
That’s like saying…
It doesn’t matter what’s happening; it doesn’t matter what I’m going through; it doesn’t matter how stressful things seem right now. God, I’m going to trust YOU, for You are God alone.
Until we get to the level where we say, “Well, You know LORD, I am pressing hard in this situation. I am going to stand in prayers and persist and see things change. But LORD, know in advance that You’re my God no matter what happens.”
Until we get to that level of commitment, we still have a long way to go.
We’re not serving God for things. We’re serving Him for who He is.
God doesn’t take us in a straight line. There will be twists, turns, the bad breaks, the falls, and so on. But they will all work out for His good in your life.
There will always be things we don’t understand. There will always be unanswered questions.
We don’t have to understand everything to trust that God is in control.
Faith is trusting God even when life doesn’t make sense.
What Should You Do If You Think Your Faith is Going Through Trials?
Yes, it’s possible that your faith is being tried right now. What should you do if that’s exactly where you are today?
- You’re going to keep standing
- You’re going to keep believing
- You’re going to keep praying
- You’re going to keep praising
According to James, the trying of your faith will produce patience. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise (Hebrews 10:36).
But notice that patience also needs to have some works attached to it. That means you won’t relax and say I’m patiently waiting. You’ll keep pressing hard in prayers and praise. You’ll continue to pray in tongues and watch what He will say to You.
You’re not going to draw back and say, “You know, this isn’t working.”
But you must strive to be joyful even as you pray through your challenges. When God sees that you don’t have to have it to be happy and trust him, many times, He will give you back what you were willing to give up.
Yes, your prayers are working.
One thing God showed me in this time of reflection is that our prayers are working no matter what we see physically.
God answers our prayers, but sometimes, not as we want it.
How did He remind me that?
In 2003, I was a pastor in a small community. There was this man whose life was going south. His wife was emotionally unstable, and they were barely making ends meet. Things were not good, and everyone in that community knew him and his family.
When he joined our church, well, we’re a praying church, and we believe that prayer changes all things. We spent days and months praying with him and his family. However, from the physical, it seemed that we achieved little.
I later resigned from that Church in 2005, left that town, and moved to Lagos following God’s direction. A few days ago, that’s15 years later, I met with one of the pastors who assisted me in that community. He’s a building engineer, and we were working on a project. Somehow, we got talking about old times. Then he shared with me that Mr. Charles had gone on to send all his children to the university and became a very comfortable fellow.
“What happened?” I asked frantically.
“I can’t tell exactly,” he said. “But I know that things just changed for him. In fact, some years ago, he came looking for you and others, but was denied access to you…. Well, he still managed to locate Pastor Victor and blessed him.”
“Wow!” I shouted. “Forget about him looking for me to be a blessing. God has shown me what I am looking for.”
If I needed a reminder that God answers prayers, that story was it.
God answers all our prayers, only sometimes, not at our time and terms, but on His time and terms.
So, yes, beloved. All your prayers are working.
You’re going to keep on praying, praising, believing and standing, in Jesus Christ name.
Prayers for When Your Faith is Being Tried
1. Father in the name of Jesus Christ, I thank You because You have not failed me. Yes, I might be feeling bad at times when my prayer seems delayed. But LORD, those are just my feelings. My feelings change and fluctuate, but Your Words are ever true. Your words never change.
Today, LORD, I submit to Thee. I confess that You are at work in my life to cause all things to work out for my good. For this I praise You forever and ever, in Jesus name.
2. Dear Heavenly Father, when my heart is in doubt, remind me by Your Spirit that You made Your LOVE manifest in allowing Jesus Christ, Your only begotten son, to die for us. Take away my doubts and fill my mind with YOUR love and passion. Cause me to stand strong in faith at all times, in Jesus name.”
3. LORD, I come unto You according to Your WORD in Matthew 11:28. I am in labor and carrying heavy burdens. Give rest to my spirit, soul, and body from today. Holy Spirit, teach me to enter into God’s rest henceforth, in Jesus name.
4. I pray today, LORD, empower me by Your Spirit to keep standing in faith, to keep pressing in prayers and praise, and to keep my confessions alive, in Jesus name.
5. Holy Spirit, help me to remain on my watch and to understand what You are saying to me. May I hear You clearly from this day forward, and follow Your leading for my life at all times, in Jesus name.
- Recommended Book for this post: Inner Peace: Finding Strength in Difficult Times
- Article: 7 Reasons to Remain in Praise When You’re Waiting
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