The greatest test of faith is seen during the hard times. In the difficult times when the situation is too hard to handle, you start entertaining the idea of quitting and settling for the easy way out.
I remember many of those times in the past. When I was in college, I majored in Physics even when I knew I am sure to plunk it. I just had little guts to change major because the professor enlisted me in it seeing my aptitude test score as a qualifier. However, turning towards the 3rd and 4th year was hell for me. Eventually, I thought of giving up if not for the encouragement of my father. Yes, I have not failed in any subject but I was not in flying colors too. Then, when I started applying for a teaching position in public school, I soon learned how difficult the task is. It was not a simple sending of application form and attending interviews. It was more of survival of the fittest. Again, in mid-way, while I was lining up and waiting for my turn with the sun’s heat waves pushing me to my limit, I felt like walking out and quitting. When I started working and I realized how difficult the system is and teaching isn’t my first love, I returned to my wishful thinking of quitting. Yet, upto now, I am still here teaching but with many lessons learned and far happier than when I first started.
I wanted to quit in every difficult situation I faced. If I did not quit, I give little credit to myself. I give huge credit to family and friends who supported me and above all to God, who comforts me and give me hope. In every brokenness I experienced, it has been God who comforted me, healed my heart, and gave me hope to go on when I just wanted to give up.
“He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3 (WEB)
The test of the hard times reveals the strength of your faith. One of the incredible Bible stories which remains transfixed in my mind is that of Daniel in the lion’s den. During that time, other officials were jealous of Daniel’s prosperity and they looked for a ground to accuse him and make him look bad before king Darius (Daniel 6:4-5). However, they could not find any fault in him for Daniel was faithful and no error was found in him (Daniel 6:4). These officials realized that the only way to bring Daniel down is by anything connected to his faith. So they plotted to deceive the king and asked the king to sign a decree that anyone who shall pray to any other god except to king Darius for 30 days shall be thrown into the lion’s den. And king Darius signed the decree which cannot be altered anymore (Daniel 6:6-9).
Pretty obvious that this was a tough situation for Daniel. It was a matter of life and death. It was a grave and serious matter because Daniel served only the One true God, the God of Israel. He prayed to the only one God who is living and who has dominion over all things. What did Daniel do in this difficult situation?
“When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his room toward Jerusalem) and he kneeled on his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did before.” – Daniel 6:10 (WEB)
Yes, of course, all the governors and officials grabbed the opportunity to tell the king. So, Daniel was thrown in to the den of the lions even when the king’s heart was broken to do this to the faithful Daniel. When next day came, the king went to the lion’s den and found Daniel alive to his great joy.
“Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God has sent his angel, and has shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me, because innocence was found in me before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” – Daniel 6:21-22 (WEB)
And king Darius commanded for Daniel’s accusers to be thrown to the den where the lions ate them and broke their bones apart (Daniel 6:24).
Daniel’s faith to God remained true and steadfast even when his life was at stake. His faith was greatly tested and proven at the most difficult hour. He could have turned away from obeying God, but he persevered to keep obeying even in the most difficult time. In the end, God preserved his life and continued to bless him and made him prosperous.
When you are faced with great difficulty, remember it may be a test of faith. When you experience hard times, remember to keep trusting and keep obeying the Lord who preserves your life and who gives you victory. As with Daniel, sometimes God allows you to be in the den of lions than stopping you from being there. When Daniel was in the lion’s den, he had the opportunity to see God’s miracles. Similarly, when God allows you to be in the lion’s den, it is an opportunity for you to experience His grace and miracle. Be steadfast in your faith. Keep trusting God. Keep obeying the Lord. Let the difficulties strenghten your faith. Let the hard times refine your faith as gold refined in fire.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving.” – Colossians 4:2 (WEB)
“knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:3-4 (WEB)