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THE OTHER SIDE OF FAITH

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Hebrews 11 has been called the faith chapter and rightly so, because it is the one place in the Bible where all the heroes of faith are paraded for us to see.

This chapter has 40 verses, but most of us stop reading at 35. Though these 35 verses are exciting, uplifting and encouraging, the final five verses are also an integral part of the walk of faith. It is in these five verses that the balance in the faith life is brought about. It is in these verses that most Christians will find solace through a major part of their lives.

What happens when our faith is tested in the trials of life? What happens when faith does not alleviate our pain and suffering?

These are questions that gnaw at those who are in suffering, and those who watch others suffer, praying helplessly as it were for the suffering to be alleviated, and quickly moving from pity to condemning or judging the sufferer if it isn’t.

We sometimes even ask ourselvesHas faith gone awry?

I remember once during a trial that was long and intense, saying, ‘I don’t know what faith is anymore’, and this because my suffering was not being alleviated or my problem solved. I judged myself as being a person with little or no faith for my situation. I tried to whip up more faith, but it was not coming forth. I could not feel my faith. It discouraged me no end until God broke through and spoke to me, to keep going in the same way that I was. He told me I was on the right track and should not focus on my feelings but on the facts of His Word.

A look at verses 36 to 40 of Hebrews 11 shows us without a doubt that this is not God’s perspective of faith.

Heb 11:36-37 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.

Remember this is still in the ‘Faith’ chapter, and the ‘others’ mentioned here are those who ‘walked by faith’.

Jer 20:7; 37:15″O LORD . . . I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me . . . Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison”. Some “were stoned.”

2 Chr 24:21Zechariah was killed in this fashion for giving warnings from the Lord. “So they conspired against him, and . . . stoned him with stones”.

Tradition says that Isaiah was killed by being “sawn in two”.

Job 2:9Job was ‘tempted’ in the midst of his sufferings, by his own wife when she scolded “Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

Is 22:18King Saul had Doeg kill eighty-five priests who were loyal to David “slain with the sword”.

All these are examples of people who were living by faith! These are reminders to us that our trials and sufferings need not necessarily mean we are failing to trust God. Most often, these challenges mean that God is giving us an opportunity to draw from His strength in ways that we need to experience or others need to observe.

Here is the paradox of faith or the other side of faith that we need to examine.

Heb 6:12 By faith and patience we inherit the promises.

Heb 11:30 All these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise.

Why this dichotomy or seeming contradiction?

Because faith has a two-fold purpose in our lives.

Job’s response to his wife in Job 2:9 was, ‘Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord and shall we not receive evil?’

The two-fold purpose of faith is

Heb 6:12 to give us our inheritance and

Heb 11:39… for us to obtain a good testimony.

Heb 11:1 says ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ That is the promise. It is not seen and we hope for it.

But we need to look at verse 2 as well. The elders through faith obtained a good testimony! So the goal is for us to inherit the promises and in the process develop in us a good testimony.

The word testimony here is from the Greek work mar-too-reh-o, which is translated to be well reported of, to bear witness and to be a witness. This is the same word from which we get the word ‘martyr‘.

So we need to ask ourselves, ‘Are we willing to receive good from the hand of the Lord and are we not willing to receive evil?’ The question here is of trusting God’s Sovereignty. If we are going through suffering and it is not because of sin in our lives, then it is because God is doing something in our lives so that He can bear witness to our character and report well of us, like he did about Job, “Have you noticed my servant Job, that there is no one like him, honest and true, totally devoted to God and hating evil?”

So the other side of faith says If you are going through a trial that you cannot endure, if you are going through a sorrow that no one can share, if you are carrying a burden that only you have to bear, maybe, just maybe, God has put you on display for your honesty and truth, for your devotion to Him and your hatred of evil. Consider this

I love delving into God’s Word and finding out what He wants to say to me each day. Most of my studies stem from my early morning times with the Lord. Once the Lord begins to speak I keep searching until I reach the bottom of His treasure chest each time! No copyright on what He freely gives!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERSMAKE A WEBSITE

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