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We need an 'even if' faith

POSTED: July 16, 2013 9:00 p.m.

For almost 31 years, I have preached and taught the truths of the Bible.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…,” “We walk by faith, not by sight…,” and so on. I have emphasized that God can be trusted, no matter the circumstances, and have done so with conviction.  
But there are times when those beliefs are challenged. In those times, we must ask if we truly believe what we claim to believe.
Early in our marriage, my wife and I discovered that we could not give birth. That was one of the hardest things that a young couple can face. In more recent days, we each have lost a parent. Even as middle-aged adults, those were bitter pills to swallow.
But nothing we have faced before could compare to seeing our youngest son lying in the intensive care unit, clinging to life, while a surgeon tells us that he needs to go to surgery NOW! More than two weeks later, he has made significant improvement, but there still is a long road to travel. There will be extensive rehabilitation, and we still do not know what the final outcome will be.
And that is why we must trust the Lord no matter what. I always have known that those preachers who say that God always heals, and that we can have anything we want, were mistaken. But I have come to the point that I have no patience at all with such unbiblical foolishness.  
In the Bible, we find that the people of God faced trials and troubles. They wandered in the wilderness because of their own sins. But Job suffered greatly in spite of the fact that God called him an upright man. Paul was persecuted and jailed because of his faith.
And of course, our savior, Jesus, was one who had no place to lay his head and was tortured and executed in the end. We have been called to be Christ-followers; we had best understand that following him may not always lead down the easy road.  
I used to say that the will of God is the safest place for any believer to be. I have come to see that is not necessarily the case, but it always is the sweetest place to be.  
The Old Testament story of Daniel’s three friends — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego — is one that teaches me much. When they were threatened by the king, they said, “Our God is able to save us, but even if he does not, we will obey him.”
We need an “even if” kind of faith. God has not promised any easy time, but he has promised never to leave or forsake us.  
I’ve always believed that. I’ve always preached that. Now, I need to live it. Pray that God will give strength for each new day and its challenges. I’ll do the same for you.

 

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