"My brothers, consider yourselves very happy when you have to face various *trials because you already know that the test of your faith produces constancy. that they lack nothing." James 1:2-4
For the past ten years, God has led us to walk by faith and not sight. Along the way, I have understood that faith is what believing is all about. No matter what our eyes are seeing and how many times we stumble, the key is to get up and keep walking with confidence that He who walks by our side is Greater than any circumstance we can encounter. It is to believe that He has already granted us Victory.
God is not a man so that He lies, nor a son of man so that He repents. Does He say and not do? Does He promise and not deliver? 20 I have received orders to bless; He gave a blessing, and I cannot take it back. Numbers 23;19-20
We must let go of our burdens and cares and rest in Him, knowing He fulfills all His Promises. It sounds easy to say, but it is not like that. Believing that everything is good is a piece of cake, but when everything your eyes see is contrary to what you want, it is a challenge. It is blindly trusting and leaving everything in His hands, resting in Him.
I think 2 Corinthians 5:7, For we live by faith, not by sight. For we live by believing and not by seeing. For we walk by faith, not by sight, sums up what our life as Christians should be a continuous walk by FAITH. It has not been easy; it has been a process of pain, fatigue, and struggle, but it has never been in vain. Every time we have been about to surrender, He reminds us how much he loves us and how lucky we are. He convinces us in such a way that He makes us yield to His will, filling us with faith, so we can once again believe. Believing is something of every day; it is a daily decision.
In trials, the Holy Spirit teaches us to depend on God. If I were to choose a word to describe these years, it would be perseverance. Thanks to God's infinite mercy, we have been able to keep walking even when what our eyes see is contrary to what we know God has for us. I can say that little by little, our character has been and continues to be molded by God. And now, we are seeing the fruits of those years of perseverance.
Walking in faith implies sacrifice, doing things that for others they seem crazy, but in the eyes of God, it is a vote of confidence. It is telling God to do His will. It is a sign of complete surrender to Him.
I cannot deny that there have been moments of tiredness and that, at some point, discouragement has invaded us. But God has always sent people (I call them angels on Earth) in our path with Words of wisdom and comfort. He has NEVER left us in shame. He has always sustained us and comforted us. We surely would not be where we are today; we would never have been able to PERSEVERE without God's mercy and grace.
PERSEVERE, in its Greek PROSKARTEREO, means to attend constantly, to continue without deviations, and to adhere firmly. In the Bible, there are many men and women whose perseverance in Christ and his promises led them to receive great blessings and even greater miracles than they desired. One of these men was Naaman, who wanted an immediate cure for his leprosy, but God wanted to test it and sent him an act of faith.
11 Naaman was furious and left, complaining, “I thought that the prophet would meet me personally to call on the *name of the Lord your God and that with a wave of his hand, he would heal me of leprosy!12 Perhaps the rivers of Damascus, the Abana, and the Farfar are not better than all the water of Israel? Could I not plunge into them and be clean? Furious, he turned and left.13 Then his servants approached him and advised him, “Sir, if the prophet had commanded you to do something complicated, would you not have listened? All the more so if all he tells you is to dive in, and you will be clean!” So Naaman went down into the Jordan and doused himself seven times, as the man of God had commanded him. And his skin became like a child, and it was clean! 2 Kings 5:11-14
God could have healed him instantly, just as He can answer our prayers in seconds, even before we ask Him, but sometimes He wants us to obey Him, to take steps of faith, and sometimes He demands action from us. Naaman could have given up or quit, but Naaman decided to believe and received complete healing from God.
Another man from the Bible whose perseverance is admirable was Job, who, despite his disastrous circumstances, decided to see beyond them and believe in His God and trusted that for he who believes, everything works for good. And God rewarded Job's perseverance. Another is the Canaanite woman; even though Jesus did not answer her the first time, she kept insisting, and in the end, she received the miracle.
Walking through the Valley of shadow and death brings us closer and closer to the Light that is Christ in our Lives. He has polished us and continues to make us stronger. He is molding a character in us. When we feel weak, unable to do something, or frustrated, His power is perfected in our weakness. And He said to me: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Many times, we have thought, Lord, why this trial? And we realize that along the way, God wanted to warn us and free us from the test, but we ignored his warning and turned a deaf ear to his cry: and that is when, due to our stubbornness, we crash against the wall and make mistakes that lead us to fall out. God does not want us to go through afflictions to reach Him, but He cannot force anyone; He lets us walk the paths we choose and gives us the freedom to be the ones who make the decisions, but He is always by our side, waiting to open the door and let him take control of our lives. May we let Him give us peace that surpasses all understanding. "You will keep in complete peace him whose mind is stayed on you because he has trusted in you." Isaiah 26:3
I thank God because He has kept us firm in His path and continues to guide us every step of the way. I thank God for the beautiful work He has done and for the work that He will continue to do. In those moments when we were about to quit, He showed us His mercy and transformed everything that should have destroyed us into blessings. He has brought us closer to Him, corrected us, guided us, and continues to polish us to bring out our best.
In trials, God transforms us, cleanses us of all iniquity, and changes our old wineskin into a new wineskin. That is when He pours out his New Wine on us, bringing a breakthrough to our lives, freeing us from old wounds and awakening our call in us, overcoming the resistance of our flesh, and teaching us that we only have to believe and trust. It is when He shows us His infinite love as Father! He gives us the strength to continue.
Luke 12:25-31says, Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the wildflowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon, in all his splendor, was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Trust God, walk without fear, and spread your wings because the wind is coming in your favor and will take you back to the right path. It will propel you towards your VICTORY. If you cry out to Him, He will answer you, so do not dismay or give up, PERSEVERE!