A DOSE OF FAITH
Richard G. Mendoza, MPH, PHD
Pr. Richard Mendoza works at the Central Luzon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. An educator and promoter of health, he complements his advocacies with spiritual and values-oriented insights.
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We all have our own trials and temptations. Oftentimes, they bring about unexpected changes to the normal ways of living that we are accustomed to. We are puzzled as to their origins, are they coming from God, from the Devil and wicked people or have we brought them upon ourselves?
As I have said, when God allows us to be in a difficult situation, it is for the purpose to grow our faith. We call this a trial. When the devil brings us into a difficult situation, it is for the purpose to demolish our faith. We call this a temptation. And if we want to sin because of the situation we are in, it also becomes a temptation. It is the purpose of the devil and our own inclination to sin, which turn some situations into temptations.
Since “God is good all the time”, it is wrong to attribute to him our troubles and sufferings, even our temptations. The Bible says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” (James 1:13-14 KJV) God’s will is different from what he allows to happen, oftentimes the hardship that he allowed is bearable, but Job’s case is an extreme one (he lost his possessions, his laborers, his children, his health, and the support of his wife and friends). Job and other sufferers cannot see the light of God’s countenance through the clouds of trial: but the wind will soon clear them off, and God shall appear again: let them but wait patiently, for He still shines, though for a time they see Him not (see on Job 37:23). Job’s proven loyalty vindicated God. He blessed Job with more than what he was enjoying before.
Everyone is subject to possible radical changes that may change the circumstances of our lives–for the better or for the worse. Even holy men in the Bible,Abel died suddenly, Joseph was sold as a slave by his own brothers. Death and suffering happens at any period of a man’s life, but the purpose of why they happen is beyond human understanding, at least until God’s plan is revealed.
Everything happens for a reason, we may not understand it right away, but if we cling to God and trust Him, we’ll be able to face these unexpected changes and to get the best out of the new circumstances (Genesis 50:20). The sin and sufferings in this world happens naturally, but his plan is to prosper and not harm us. In God’s great scheme of things, everything will be brought back to the original state of perfection.
Prophecy reveals that there will be persecutions before the end of the world, before Jesus returns and restores order in this world. Many Christians have puzzled over God’s plan to allow his sealed remnant people to go through a period of serious trial before He rescues them from this dying planet. (See Dan. 12:1,2; Rev.7:13,14.) But ask a man who is buying gold ingots if he is glad that the refiners have purified the gold until it can be certified 99.99 percent pure. For God is about to bring home a people that He can “certify” as safe to save, totally cleansed from any lingering attachments to Satan’s deceptions and values. God puts into the purifying fires only those whom He knows can handle the heat.
When He permits them to experience great trial, it is actually a statement of confidence in His people. “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess.1:4-8 KJV)
Jesus himself suffered, but was victorious, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:32 ESV)
Everything is as God made it; not as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts, are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them. The world has not only gained possession of the heart, but has formed thoughts against the beauty of God’s works. Satisfaction with Divine Providence is having faith that all things work together for good to them that love him. God doeth all, that men should fear before him. The world, as it has been, is, and will be. There has no change befallen us, nor has any temptation by it taken us, but such as is common to men. (See Romans 8:28 and Ecclesiastes 3:11-15)
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12 KJV). Amen.