Joseph Khabbaz • March 11, 2022
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10, NIV)
“But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”” (Daniel 3:18, NIV)
God may not always save us from the fire, but He will be with us through the fire. Last week our campus heard the remarkable story of Kechi Okwuchi at Convocation. As shared in the Southern Accent, Kechi was one of two passengers who survived a plane crash that took the lives of 107 individuals in 2005. She tragically suffered third-degree burns on 65 percent of her body due to that accident, yet she refused to allow her pain to limit her purpose. Kechi currently advocates for several organizations including the United Nations Foundation #TOGETHERBAND project.
Do not be surprised if a trial is kindled while you are in the midst of trusting in God. In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar tests the faith of three Hebrew young adults. The King commands Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to bow down to his golden image or pay the ultimate price and be thrown into the fire. Their response to the King was immediate. They knew God had the power to save, but they continued and said, “even if He does not.” You see, it is easy to be faithful when God answers our prayers according to our expectations, but what happens when He doesn’t? An even if faith says, “I am going to trust anyway, I am going to be faithful anyway, and I am going to believe anyway.” Even when we are facing the furnace, we can choose to have an even if faith!
As you experience your faith being tested your sorrows can also be a catalyst that turns your face from the fiery trial to the caring face of the Savior. “True virtue never appears so lovely as when it is most oppressed, and the divine excellency of real Christianity is never exhibited with such advantage as when under the greatest trials.”1] During times of great trial our desire is for God to save us from the fire, but He sometimes wants to reveal that He can also save us through the fire.
- Is there any area of your life where you feel you faith is being tested? It could be your studies, family, finances, health or relationships.
- How may God be calling you to have an “even if” kind of faith in your situation?
- Complete this sentence, “Even if _____________, I will still trust God!”
Joseph Khabbaz • March 04, 2022
“I am suffering and in pain. Rescue me, O God, by your saving power. Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:29–30, NLT)
Praying in times of pain is as important as praising God in times of deliverance. In her book Troubled Minds, Amy Simpson reveals the following highlights from her survey about dealing with mental illness in the church. Simpson reveals nearly half (44.5 Percent) of church leaders are approached two to five times per year for help in dealing with mental illness. She also emphasizes when Christians are on medication or diagnosed with a mental illness, over a third of Christians keep the matter very private. Unfortunately, there is an unbiblical belief held by some churches which equates emotional distress with a lack of faith.
In Psalm 69, we find David praying while experiencing intense suffering. Instead of keeping his pain private, David describes his stress to God in painstaking detail. He declares how he cried out so intensely that his “throat” feels like it is burning; he mentions that his inner being is ablaze; he feels he cannot go on because his eyes are “failing” after shedding so many tears. Yet even though David is in emotional distress, He is still holding onto faith by seeking God. For David, emotional pain did not lead to distrust in God - it gloriously pointed him to God. It appears Christians can shed tears and hold onto God at the same time.
Even though David’s tears made it difficult to see how God was going to rescue him, he was still filled with hope by looking forward to the day that God would act. By commenting on this chapter Ellen White writes, “Let His [God’s] love take possession of mind and heart. Guard against becoming overwearied, careworn, depressed. Bear an uplifting testimony. Turn your eyes away from that which is dark and discouraging, and behold Jesus…” Seeking God in times of pain also prepares our hearts to praise Him during times of rescue. “The humble shall see this and be glad; And you who seek God, your hearts shall live.” (Psalm 69:32, NKJV)
- Have you ever felt the emotional intensity that David described? A burning throat, fever-like symptoms or the inability to control tears? When? What was this like?
- If you are in a season of suffering or pain, find someone with whom you can share your struggles with. Choose someone who will listen well and pray for you.
- If you are in a fruitful season, you may know someone to whom you can reach out with a listening ear and a heartfelt prayer.
Ellen Gould White, Maranatha, The Lord Is Coming (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1976), 159.