Paul testifies of being afflicted with trials yet finishing his course having won the faith test. He writes, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Of course, Paul knew he still had much work to do. There were great trials and suffering ahead for him. But he was able to honestly say:
“I may not have apprehended Christ as I wanted, and I haven’t been perfected. But when it comes to faith, and trusting God through every trial, I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded. When the enemy comes in like a flood, I know the Lord will raise a standard against it. And I learned all of this in the furnace of affliction.”
I share this testimony with Paul. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit has enabled me to come through a number of trials in recent years, the hardest being the death of our twelve-year-old granddaughter, Tiffany. The Lord provided strength and faith through that excruciating ordeal, and I came out of it saying, “I know whom I have believed, and I know he has a plan. God would not allow this kind of deep hurt to come upon me or my family without a purpose behind it all. Oh, Lord, I give this over to you by faith.”
Think about your own present ordeal or trial. Have you had doubt, fear or anger as you’ve endured it? Have you accused God of putting too much on you, of placing you in your trial needlessly? Are you on the verge of giving up, thinking, “I’ve been faithful to pray, to read the Bible, to go to church, but nothing is working”?
Or, can you still look to heaven and say, “I know the Lord is good and I’m going to trust Him through this. I will not live in doubt. He will bring me out, to His glory.” If this describes you, then your faith has endured the fire. But if it doesn’t, I have a question for you. How many more trials and afflictions must you endure before you are able to say, “My faith has prevailed”?