James Pence: A test of our faith | Religion

Three ladies were discussing the trials of aging. The former said, “Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand in front of the fridge and I can’t remember whether to put it away or make a sandwich.”

The second said, “Well, sometimes I find myself on the landing of the stairs and I can’t remember whether to go up or stay down. »

The third said, “Well, I don’t have that problem, knock on wood,” tapping her fingers on the coffee table, then added, “It must be the door.” I’ll see who it is.

From memory loss to bad relationships, financial problems, and physical or emotional problems, trials can be, and often are, a test of our faith.

Paul confirms what Peter says in I Corinthians 3:12-13 where he writes: “If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or the straw, his work will be shown as it is, because the day will bring it to light. It will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test the quality of everyone’s work.

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The idea is that we want to make it to heaven not with lesser works of wood, hay and straw which are easily burned, but more like gold and silver which are refined in the fires of heaven. affliction as we take precious works to heaven with us.

And the fact is that God can seem distant to us when we endure these trials as if we have no answers or words from him. But as Dr. David Jeremiah says, “When you’re going through something difficult and wondering where God is, remember that the teacher is always silent during a test.”

Very true. Never did a teacher talk to us in high school or college on a test; they just watched and kept quiet while we took it. God can often be the same way when we face our own trials and wonder where he is.

It’s not that He’s not there. He is, but as a teacher he is silent during the test as we discover how we will react and what we will do when we pass through what has been called the furnace of affliction. After passing through it, we can rejoice with inexpressible joy as we experience salvation.

One purpose is to receive the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1:8-9 says “Though you have not seen him, yet you love him, and though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you receive the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Here our love for Christ does not depend on our outward personal knowledge, and it is a love too deep for words because it is unspeakable and full of glory. 2 Corinthians 12:14, “(Paul speaks of someone who was …) caught up in paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is authorized to say.”

Heaven is such a blissful place that we can only imagine the taste of the glory it will be, and our words fail us. So we can endure trials and difficulties because we know that ultimately Jesus’ return and the salvation of our souls is coming and so we face them with faith and great joy.

The “inexpressible joy” only appears here in the New Testament and it is a joy so deep that words cannot express it.

Charles Spurgeon is quoted as saying, “There is wonderful medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are unpleasant but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet in taste and comforting to the heart… the grace of joy is contagious.

When we face trials we can rest, we can have joy knowing that God will carry us through or provide the eternal home he has promised for those who love him and yearn for his appearing. Basically, we win anyway.

So ours is not to worry and worry through trials, but to trust God that he works all things out for our own good, that we can rejoice despite the sorrow of trials that we endure, see that our faith is tested and refined, purified and we receive the salvation of our souls.

James Pence is the minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church in Martinsville.

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