“At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Songbirds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God's hand until we learn to hear Him... Watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet... When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.”
Are you presently facing a fiery testing of your faith? Are you in the dark regarding circumstances in your life? One of the things that we find hardest to handle is the testing of our faith. It calls for too much internal struggle for us to come out on the other side. We want to know the answers. We want to see the light at the end of the tunnel far in advance. It is just too much of a challenge for us to go through a long testing of our faith and the discipline of darkness, yet God requires this of each one of us if we are to grow spiritually.
I’ve taken many college courses and been to many schools. One thing I can assure you is that it is far easier to take a course where we know exactly when it will end, or the day of the final exam so that we can prepare for it, than it is to go through a life testing. But the testing of our faith is so unpredictable. It throws us off guard. We have to muster up our courage and passionately seek God deep within if we are to make it through uncharted waters. We don’t like what we can’t see.
But God engineers and even brings us into the very thing that tests our faith. Why does He do this? What we rarely can comprehend at the start - especially of a life challenge - is that He permits this type of unrelenting trial for our good and benefit. He doesn’t intend to do us harm. He intends to bless us if we move closer rather than farther away.
If you are facing fiery trials, you are not alone. God is with you and can give you confidence in the middle of your trials. You are in the loving hands of the Almighty like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. He is aiming carefully at something that you cannot see. He is stretching, pulling and straining you into His purposes. Oswald Chambers, one of my favorite Christian authors who lived out his faith with deep reality, says:
“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.”
In days of difficulty, how can we respond in faith? How can we rise up in confident faith in God when the world around us seems to be crumbling? We must find the way of faith if we are going to live in victory. After all, faith is foundational in the Christian life. God releases His blessings in our life and circumstances according to our faith (Matthew 9:29; 21:21-22; Mark 11:23-24; John 5:14-25). Look at what Jesus says happens through our faith:
- “If you have faith… nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).
- “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (Luke 8:48).
- “If you believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).
- "as you have believed so let it be done for you” (Matthew 8:13).
- “According to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29).
What is God doing in this test of faith in the midst of our fiery trials? What does He want us to know and do at this time? We all have trials. Many around the world are going through severe trials. They can be anywhere from the less threatening persistent health issues, difficult relationships, a loss of our job, lack of promotion and recognition…. to actually losing our life for our faith. Trials come in all shapes and sizes. Life was never meant to be a paradise. We may be entering a trial, leaving a trial, or actually right in the midst of a severe trial.
The key that opens the door to blessing is the key of faith and confidence in God. In Kansas during a severe drought, a group of people came together to pray for rain. As they met together, they found only one girl had brought an umbrella! She was the one who responded in believing faith and confidence in God.
How to Respond in Faith
“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”
Let's see God's purpose in our difficulties and learn to respond positively. He will give us a precious message for others if we learn to trust Him in the fire. The following are ways to respond in faith:
- Know that faith releases more blessing into our life circumstances - We read in Matthew 9:29 that according to your faith it will be done to you.
- Don’t be consumed with trying to figure everything out - Cultivate a trusting attitude of faith in God and His goodness even when you don't understand.
- Watch your thoughts and your tongue - Our thoughts follow wherever our mind goes. Our tongues can reinforce the negative, so speak positive words and worship God, knowing that He is in control. Learn to sing in the dark.
- Let go of unproductive thinking about your problems - Don’t keep asking “Why God” or “When God.” Remain quietly listening, learn to hear God's voice, and ask Him to show you Himself. He wants to reveal Himself to you.
- Don’t listen to the devil’s lies - Listen to God’s Word instead. Learn the truth and it will set you free. Don’t let lies become your reality.
- Meditate on God’s Word and talk to Jesus about it - Let God speak to you as you meditate. Then pray with our eyes on God and not on your difficulties.
- Talk yourself into faith instead of anxiety - Don’t talk yourself into a negative mood by rehearsing your problems apart from God’s promises. Learn to declare His promises from His Word and your feelings will begin to change.
- Learn what God’s Word says - Especially study about who you are in Christ and how God will work in your life. The enemy will always strike at our identity in Christ when we are facing fiery trials. Study Psalm 139.
- Be confident that God is working - Even when you cannot see or feel his work know that God is working in your life (Philippians 1:6).
You may feel like you have failed in your response of faith. Life is a process, not an event. You can start now. It is never too late for a new beginning or to start believing the right things. Push delete and rise up in new faith. Let’s step out afresh in faith and entrust ourselves into God’s loving hands.
A Prayer of Faith
Lord, I ask You to enlarge my faith (2 Thessalonians 1:3). I know that faith will release more blessing in this fiery trial I am facing in my life. Please remove doubt and help me to stand firm in my faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) and faithfully pray through (Name your fiery trial). Give me a supernatural faith to believe You and to fix my eyes upon You instead of the storms around me. I ask for patient trust. I refuse to try to figure everything out, and I let go of unproductive thinking about this problem. I refuse to listen to the devil's lies. I choose to trust in your goodness and character. I want to believe You for marvelous breakthroughs in (name situation) for Your honor and glory.
I ask that You help me to be a person of prayer and faith in the impossible. Teach me to listen, meditate on Your Word, and hear Your voice. I ask You to give me faith-filled prayers that are created and fashioned in heaven. Break every area of unbelief in my life. I choose to declare Your promises over my circumstances. Increase my faith to believe that You will answer my prayers in Your timing (Mark 11:22-24). I thank you that I am Your beloved child and that my identity is in You. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), and I am confident that You are working deeply in my life through this fiery trial. I entrust myself into Your loving hands today. In Jesus' name, amen.
“Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God is like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says - 'I cannot stand anymore.' God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith." - Quotes by Oswald Chambers
Together in the Harvest,
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC)