When Faith Is Tested
But he did not answer her a word. - Matthew 15:23
Genuine seekers who as yet have not obtained the blessing may find comfort in this story. The Savior did not immediately bestow the blessing, even though the woman had great faith in Him. He intended to give it, but He waited awhile. "He did not answer her a word." Were her prayers no good? Never better in the world. Was she not needy? Dreadfully needy. Did she not feel her need sufficiently? She felt it overwhelmingly. Was she not sincere enough? She was intensely so. Did she have no faith? She had such a high degree of it that even Jesus wondered and said, "O woman, great is your faith!" Notice then, although it is true that faith brings peace, it does not always bring it instantaneously. There may be certain reasons for faith to be tested rather than rewarded.
Genuine faith may be in the soul like a hidden seed, but so far it may not have budded and blossomed into joy and peace. Silence from the Savior is the painful trial of many a seeking soul, but heavier still is the affliction of a harsh, cutting reply such as, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." Many in waiting upon the Lord find immediate delight, but this is not the case with all. Some, like the jailer, are in a moment turned from darkness to light, but others are plants of slower growth.
A deeper sense of sin may be given to you instead of a sense of pardon, and in such a case you will need patience to bear the heavy blow. Poor heart, though Christ beat and bruise you, or even slay you, trust Him; even if He should give you an angry word, believe in the love of His heart. I urge you, do not give up seeking or trusting my Master because you have not yet obtained the conscious joy that you long for. Cast yourself on Him, and perseveringly depend even when you cannot rejoicingly hope.
Family Bible reading plan
verse 1 Ezekiel 42
verse 2 Psalms 94
Zeal Without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice by Christopher Ash
Thousands of people leave Christian ministry every month. They have not lost their love for Christ, or their desire to serve him. But for one reason or another, they are exhausted and simply cannot carry on. Christopher Ash knows this experience all too well. As a pastor of a growing church, and then in his role of training people for ministry, he has found himself on the edge of burnout a number of times and has pastored many young ministers who have reached the end of their tether.
His wisdom has been distilled into this short, accessible book, in which he reveals a neglected biblical truth and seven keys that flow from it. Understood properly, and built into our lives as Christians who are zealous to serve the Lord, they will serve to protect us from burnout, and keep us working for God's kingdom and glory.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.