How to Keep Faith in God During Trials
Brothers and sisters, I’m reading the Book of Job when practicing spiritual devotions lately. Whenever I see that God praised Job as a righteous, perfect and upright person who feared God and shunned evil, I admire him greatly in my heart, and I also want to learn from him. I see Job had great. When he lost his cattle and sheep all over the mountains, his untold wealth, and even his sons and daughters, he didn’t sin through his words blaming God, and he stood witness to God. In the trial he even said words with weight and testimony such as, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). When he suffered great pain from the sore boils all over his body, his wife told him to forsake God and betray God, but instead of doing that, Job said to his wife, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). From this I see that no matter what great sufferings and tribulations Job encountered, even in the face of death, he could retain his integrity by faith and didn’t rebel against or resist God. Job’s faith is very admirable. However, look at myself: Even though I have believed in the Lord for many years, my faith in the Lord is still very small. In my work and life, whenever encountering untoward things that harm my reputation and my interest, or suffering illness and tribulations, though I won’t say anything, I will still misunderstand and blame God in my heart, just unable to obey. Only when I reflect on myself afterward can I see that my faith in God is truly pitiful, and is worlds away from Job’s. If God allows me to encounter trials in the future, with such faith how can I stand testimony to satisfy God? If I can’t, I will be Satan’s laughingstock, and I won’t gain God’s approval. So, how can I have true faith in the Lord? If brothers or sisters have any understanding of it, please fellowship with me. Thanks!
Poster: Zheng Xun
Thank God! Zheng Xun, the moment I entered the forum I saw your post. It’s really arranged by God. Previously, I had the same question as yours. But thanks to God’s guidance, after I studied the Bible carefully, prayed earnestly, sought and fellowshiped together with my brothers and sisters, I got some understanding about how to have true faith. Now, I’d like to share it with you here. And if the brothers and sisters interested in this post have any good understanding, please join us and communicate it together, so that we can learn from each other.
From the Book of Job we can know that when Job underwent God’s trial, he was already seventy years old. When he had all his property and children taken, even when his body was covered in boils, he still praised the name of Jehovah God, and retained the way of fearing God and shunning evil. This was inextricably linked to his paying attention to knowing God through practical experiences in his daily life. Job’s classic words “the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” verified that his knowledge of God wasn’t vague but practical, that his knowledge of God ruling over and controlling everything was real. Job knew clearly in his heart that all his property, livestock, houses and children were bestowed by God. All of those were not obtained by his own hard work and effort. Without the favor and grace of God, no matter how he toiled, how much price he paid, he would have gained nothing. This was what Job was quite certain about in his heart. So, when God blessed him, he praised; when his property and livestock were robbed of and his servants were killed, he didn’t deny God or forsake God’s name, nor did he try to take them back. He accepted it from God, tearing his cloth up, shaving his head and then bowing down to worship God. This makes us truly see that it was because Job honored God as great and had a God-fearing heart that in tribulations and trials he was able to absolutely obey God, held no misunderstandings or complaints against God, and said the following words “the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” At the same time, it can be seen that Job’s faith in God was true, and that his faith was on the basis of having real knowledge of God’s sovereignty.
Thank God! After reading your fellowship like this, I feel much brightened. It turns out that Job’s true faith in God was caused from his knowledge of God’s sovereignty. Job acknowledged from his heart that no matter whether he received good or evil, it was dominated and arranged by God. So he could stand witness to God in trials. This also makes me understand why God praised Job as a person who feared God and shunned evil: He never abandoned God, never did anything to rebel against or resist God under any circumstance; but instead he bore beautiful and resounding testimony for God relying on his true faith, and made Satan completely humiliated and defeated. Job’s faith is indeed worth our emulating!
A grain of sand, your acceptance is pure. Thanks for God’s enlightenment!
Fang Liang, I have another question: As Job had never seen God, and at that age there was no assembly to attend and no scriptures to read, then how did he confirm God’s real existence, see God’s power and know God’s domination over all things? Please talk more about it.
Okay. Although Job never saw God, nor attended assemblies or read scriptures, much less experienced God’s work in person, it didn’t impact his understanding of the actual existence of God, or affect his knowing God’s power and authority.
In Job’s daily life, through practical observation, and through experiencing, feeling and knowing God’s sovereignty in every phenomenon in his life, he confirmed the realness of God’s existence, the fact that God is the source of human life, and that it is God who leads all things, supplies all things and masters all things.
The Book of Job records, “With him is wisdom and strength, he has counsel and understanding. Behold, he breaks down, and it cannot be built again: he shuts up a man, and there can be no opening. Behold, he withholds the waters, and they dry up: also he sends them out, and they overturn the earth” (Job 12:13–15). “He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who has hardened himself against him, and has prospered? Which removes the mountains, and they know not: which overturns them in his anger. Which shakes the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commands the sun, and it rises not; and seals up the stars. Which alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea. Which makes Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. Which does great things past finding out; yes, and wonders without number” (Job 9:4–10). “God understands the way thereof, and he knows the place thereof. For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weighs the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder” (Job 28:23–26). Job’s words proved that he focused on practically feeling and knowing God’s sovereignty from all things created by God and the rhythm of them in his daily life. He saw that God can dry up the water, move the mountains and shake the earth, that God controls the sunrise and sunset, the moon and stars, and that God dominates the wind and rain, the lightning and thunder. From all this, he realized: God’s deeds are everywhere, God’s wisdom is miraculous and unfathomable, and God’s power cannot be transcended by anyone. Thus, he ascertained God’s real existence. Furthermore, Job also put these understandings of God’s sovereignty and authority into practice in his real life: He believed that the wealth he gained all his life was bestowed by God and from God; it was not earned by his hard labor, nor determined by his own intelligence and wisdom.
Therefore, Job could confirm God’s real existence and see God’s power and sovereignty over all things; this was attained by his cumulative practice of using his heart to appreciate all the environments God arranged for him every day, and by his practical experience of those environments. Job’s actual understandings of all these experiences became the source of his true faith.
From the fellowship of Fang Liang, I have benefited a lot. It turns out that Job’s faith wasn’t produced in a moment, nor came into existence without foundation; it was gained through his pursuit of knowing God’s domination a little every day and through his practical experience. In the past, I only knew Job’s faith was great but I didn’t know how his true faith was actually produced. Through today’s communication, I understand. The true faith does come from experience; it isn’t produced by shouting slogans, nor gained only by our willingness. Although the majority of the believers in the Lord know Job’s classic words well and even can recite them, how many of them can stand firm in such a big trial and still retain the faith in the Lord as Job did? This is really a question. Normally, God’s blessing is easy for us to accept, but God’s taking isn’t. Especially when God arranges some hardships, tribulations and refinements of illness for us to undergo, if we don’t have a solid understanding and experience of God’s domination, then it will be very difficult for us to submit by faith.
Just passing by. I feel the same way on the question you are discussing. Fang Liang’s communication reminds me of an example of the farmers who have farmed the land for their lifetime. They know well what crops ought to be planted and what kinds of fertilizer ought to be used in different soils, but they cannot anticipate whether they can have a good harvest. At last, they also conclude that “Farming depends on man, harvesting depends on Heaven.” This, too, is gained from practical experience. Likewise, Job’s real faith in God also came out of his own experience in real life. It was something based on practical knowledge rather than vague imagination. Job pursued knowing God, and he produced a heart that revered God. In the end he had true faith in God and received God’s approval and blessings.
Thank God! The more we fellowship about the truth, the clearer it becomes! By now I have realized why I still can blame the Lord when encountering disappointments, illness or difficulties. This is because I just acknowledge with my mouth that God is almighty and God sovereigns over everything, but I never try to know God’s sovereignty in my real life. With regard to many aspects of truth, I only have some doctrinal knowledge, rather than practical experience. Since I have no true knowledge of God, my faith in God is naturally very small.
Yeah! If we want to be a person as Job who fears God and shuns evil, who can stand firm and bear witness in various environments, trials and tribulations arranged by God, we must believe that all that we have is bestowed by God, and comes from God; God is the Creator of all things, while we humans are created beings; God controls everything, so He can give and can also take away. This should be our knowledge of and attitude toward God’s sovereignty. Then, when we practically experience in the people, matters, things and environments that we encounter every day, we can treat each of them reasonably like Job. No matter whether we receive blessings or suffer misfortune, we can obey the Creator’s arrangement from the perspective of a created being without our own choice and demands, and we cannot complain against God. In this way, we can shame Satan by what we do, and we can truly stand testimony for God and naturally gain God’s approval.
Thank God! Through today’s fellowship I finally know the reason why I have believed in God for many years but my faith remains unchanged. I also come to know the source of faith and get the way of practice: From now on, I will put into practice God’s words in my real life, apply my knowledge of God to myself and to the practical things that I encounter. Only by doing like this can I have more and more knowledge of God and faith in God. Thanks for God’s lead. I’ve gained so much today. Looking forward to our next fellowship. Goodbye, everyone!
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