Faith through the trials.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
“I want you to know I’m not a Christian—never have been.” Referring to her childhood decision to accept Christ, she said, “What child wants to go to Hell?” Those words tumbled out of her as we drove away from the airport and left me feeling like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. This 20-something daughter of mine had put a lot of distance (geographical and emotional) between us in recent years, but I kept reminding myself of her childhood professions of faith; her leadership positions in her church youth group and our close mother-daughter relationship. Surely she will return to the faith we instilled in her and become the daughter I knew and love so much. That was several years ago and I’m still waiting for her to return to her family and the faith I thought we shared.
As the years pass, and still no word from her, my faith has been tested. What happened to that promise, ‘raise up a child in the way they should go and they will not depart’ ? (Proverbs 22:6) Good Christians raise good kids, don’t they? The prodigal of Luke 15 returned didn’t he? Where is my prodigal? Leadership within the church requires an exemplary family, doesn’t it? What did I do to cause her rejection of me and my faith? Am I to blame?
A life crisis is often followed by a faith crisis and I’m no exception. More than once I’ve felt my faith drowning; but there has always been the still, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit who reminded me I’m not alone. He has given me an enduring peace and confidence that my Abba-Father is in control of my trials and will not allow me to be tested more than I am able. My trial of being abandoned by my daughter is not intended to hinder me, but make me whole and develop steadfastness in my faith. Steadfast was often a military term meaning to develop a solid front—a line of defense and offense that cannot be broken but is advancing in the battle for Christ.
God doesn’t waste my pain. He keeps account of my tears and those sleepless nights when I wonder where she is and review all my motherhood mistakes. It took a while for me to realize this situation isn’t all about her—It’s also about me. God is teaching me and developing qualities in me that would not happen without this trial, such as: I’m not in control of her or God’s plan; the Holy Spirit’s presence is so very real to me; He prays to the Father when my words fail; my strength is found in memorizing God’s Word and letting it seep into the crevices of my mind and heart. This trial has also given me a compassionate heart for other parents who are suffering through the rejection of their adult children. One of these days, God Himself will wipe away all our tears. (Revelation 21)
Think about: What trial are you experiencing right now? Can you thank the Lord for what he is teaching you through the trial? Are you learning to be steadfast in the trial?
Prayer: Lord help me to trust your heart in my trial.