This life is fraught with trouble and suffering. Pain comes to all of us, be it mental, emotional or physical.
Coming to the end of his life journey, the aged Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are 130; but compared to my ancestors’, they are short and difficult.” (Genesis 47:9)
Who hasn’t experienced difficulties and pain in life? However, when they are too much and prolonged, many give up. Some give up hope, many give up God, and others give up living altogether.
We have often heard of Christians who give up hope on God’s faithfulness to His promises. Primarily it is because the waiting seems too long; it is as though the Lord has turned a deaf ear to our prayers.
Sometimes the wait seems forever. While we wait, the pain and uncertainty continue to taunt us. Let’s examine how heroes of faith in the Bible dealt with this challenge.
1st Example: JOSEPH
Through dreams, God promised Joseph that his destiny would be one of great power and authority. But instead, he was plunged into the abyss of slavery and imprisonment.
His own brothers, out of envy, threw him into a pit to die. Then they decided to sell him to a slave merchant instead.
Joseph still trusted God. As a result, he found favor with his master who put him in charge of his household. Sadly, he was falsely accused of a grave misdeed.
Consequently, he was thrown into a dungeon. His trust in God did not change. Again, he found favor with the warden who put him in charge of the division he was in.
Despite God’s favor, he still suffered homesickness, loneliness, humiliation, physical hardship, pain, and many more. He was still waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise.
Psalm 105:18 (AMPC)
His feet they hurt with fetters; he was laid in chains of iron and his soul entered into the iron,
Notice the phrase, “his soul entered into the iron”. What it means is iron entered into his soul as he walked with God in all his adversities.
Joseph waited 13 years before he was elevated to the position in Egypt where he was able to save countless lives from starvation. He became the prime minister of Egypt. God needed the time to put iron into his soul in order that he could fulfill that high calling. God had kept His promise because Joseph didn’t give up.
2nd Example: ABRAHAM
Abraham waited 25 years for the promised heir. Why should the waiting time be 25 years? It is because God could not build Abraham’s faith and character to become the Father of Faith in a lesser time frame.
There were times the patriarch’s faith wavered and he suffered for it. One good example is when he acceded to his wife’s plan for him to take her maid, Hagar, as his concubine in order for the promised heir to become a reality. Didn’t he realise that God did not need their help to keep His promise? That mistake brought repercussions to Israel up to this day.
Finally, after 25 years, Abraham developed unwavering faith and Isaac was born from the womb of a 90-year-old woman. God had kept His promise because Abraham didn’t give up.
And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
3rd Example: MOSES
As a prince of Egypt, Moses arrogantly thought he could be the deliverer of his people with his own strength. God had to strip him of his earthly position and humble him, from a prince to become a lowly shepherd in the wilderness for 40 years.
After 40 years of hardship and discomfort, because the luxuries of the palace were no longer available to him and he was so used to all the creature’s comfort of Egypt, he became the meekest man of his time.
Finally, God appointed him to be the deliverer of the Hebrews, and the great exodus took place with Moses leading the way.
4th Example: DAVID
As King Saul became increasingly disobedient and wayward, God ordered Samuel to anoint
David as king. David was the one who set Israel free by killing Goliath. But for some 15 years, he became a fugitive as the king, out of jealousy, sought fervently to kill him.
In his darkest hour, he kept believing and trusting God, obeying His precepts. Twice, he had the opportunity to slay the king but he would not because he deemed him as God’s anointed.
Finally, King Saul was killed in a battle. David’s long wait was over and he was crowned the king of Israel. God kept His promise because David didn’t give up.
In a severe trial, it is tempting to simply give up, even abandoning trust in God. One has to remember: God is always faithful and His mercy endures forever. Often, delays to prayer is not denial. Be patient.
As Christ went through the agonies of crucifixion, He didn’t give up and call for legions of His angels to snatch Him from His suffering for our sin. If He did, all of us would be hopelessly lost. He didn’t give up on us.
The Lord is always faithful so don’t give up!
Monday: 1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Tuesday: 1 Thessalonians 5:24
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
Wednesday: 2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.
Thursday: Lamentations 3:23
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
Friday: Psalm 13:5
But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
Saturday: Psalm 37:5
Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
Sunday: Psalm 43:5
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
All scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV).
By Pastor Rony Tan