“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5) This is a wonderful verse that many believers have memorized. Proverbs has a large number of verses that speak of God’s blessing if we follow His ways. A friend of ours has been ministering to her husband who is near death. This has been a deep trial now for three months, and looks like anything but blessings. We all have these times that seem to make a mockery of God’s Word. God has never promised us an easy life. We’ve certainly learned this is true. But our friends are surrounded by family and others that love them, and support them materially, and with prayer. They have seen God act even in the midst of the pain. His strength has been there, and will be there always. This is the blessing He always promises, and it is sufficient.
Hebrews chapter 11 is the great chapter on those who lived their lives by faith. The writer uses some mighty examples of people throughout history who were faithful, often in spite of great opposition. While we look at some like Abraham and Moses as great men of faith, they were also just normal people, going about their daily lives. After highlighting a number of people, the writer concludes by saying, “I do not have time to tell about…..”(vs.32) indicating untold numbers who were faithful to the Lord. None of them set out to do extraordinary things. They lived their lives believing in the Lord, and trusting Him for their needs. They met each day as it came, with whatever the Lord brought in that day. And that is what the Lord asks of us. We are normal people with normal lives, but we believe in our God who is greater than all, and seek to honor Him in all we do.
We all seek victory. When we go to war, we are in it for victory. When we watch a sporting event we are rooting for victory. We speak of victory in elections and court cases. We want victory over some bully or unfairness in a system. But where we find our true victory is in Jesus Christ. The Apostle John wrote, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. “(IJ.5:4) And this victory often makes no sense by worldly standards. I read a recent interview with Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic from age 17, living with chronic pain, and now having received a diagnosis of breast cancer. She has every worldly reason to rail against God, and complain about her life, but she doesn’t. She only speaks of how each trial has brought here closer to Jesus, and what she has learned through His Word. Her life looks like defeat, but in her faith she has overcome the world, and touched the lives of countless others.
Can you imagine receiving an instruction from the Lord like Abraham received? “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s house, and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). We would have to be pretty certain that it was the Lord who was speaking, and even then, would require a tremendous amount of faith and trust. We are told that Abraham (Abram, at that time) obeyed, and from that obedience a great people of faith was born, beginning a line that would lead to the Messiah. No, it is difficult for me to imagine receiving that kind of instruction from the Lord. Nevertheless, it is the kind of trust our Lord is asking of us. Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life. Your heavenly Father knows what you need” (Matthew 6:25-34). This is not a command to leave our home, but we are called to trust the Lord for all parts of our life, and not be afraid. It is this faith the Lord seeks in all of us.