Faith Test

Faith Test

By E. Lamb

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you,” Matthew 17: 20

There is a very important test that we must all pass on this journey called faith. It’s the “Can you stand to watch others get what you’ve been praying for and be genuinely happy for them test.” This test strikes at the core of what we believe about God and how He blesses people. Does God bless us based on our track record, how well we have behaved or performed? The world’s system says those who work the hardest, try the hardest, perform the best, or complain the loudest, get what they want. Basically the world rewards the bright, brilliant, beautiful, and those deemed worthy. God however blesses whoever He wants, however He wants, whenever He wants. Sometimes it is simply based on that person’s faith. Sometimes God is being extra generous and kind, because that is who He is. Sometimes people are blessed because they have sown for years where no one but God could see. Sometimes people are blessed because of the prayers of those around them. Sometimes wicked people are blessed. It may not seem fair, but God is always good.

So maybe you have been chronically ill and watching others get instantly healed. Your heart may wonder, does God love that other person more than me. Absolutely not!  Believe that God loves you. Maybe you have wanted children your entire life and it seems that everywhere you go people are parading their babies in front of your face. Does that mean God doesn’t want you to have your hearts desires? If it matters to you. It matters to God. I dare not try to explain His methods, because I can’t. What I do believe is that God is good. God has the best plan. God knows what He is doing. God doesn’t give us good things because we are good. He gives us good things because He is good. His love for us and desire to give us good things isn’t based on our worthiness. Without Christ we all stand before Him, unworthy.  So be happy for the people He blesses. It isn’t based on them, it’s based on Him. He isn’t withholding good things from you because He is mean, He doesn’t care, or He is trying to taunt you.  When we can be happy for others it means we have placed our hearts in a humble place. A place of knowing that we don’t deserve better than what another person has. Our hearts begin to align with love. Love is not envious or jealous.

Also God isn’t always withholding good things because you don’t have enough faith. People used to teach if you believed hard enough God would give you whatever you want. Well, I have not seen this to be true. I have seen that if you believe according to His will, His plan, and His timing that He moves. Faith is the currency of Heaven, but God is still God, meaning He does what is right always. We don’t always understand His answers, but He is never wrong. I have also seen that disobedience in an area of our lives can block blessings. God knows what will lead us further out of His will and sometimes He says no to those things. 

What I have learned about this particular faith test.

  1. It shows us what’s in our hearts. If we have a loving heart we are happy to celebrate the triumphs of others. If we have a selfish heart, it becomes envious, competitive, and jealous.
  2. It shows us what we believe about God. God is the giver of good gifts. If we think He blesses based on performance or loves based on performance, we are deceived. He does whatever He wants. He is God. He is love. He loves all His kids the same, even those who don’t believe in Him.
  3. Waiting changes us, if we let it. God often makes us wait because He is doing something great in us. He is interested in building a firm foundation of faith, not one easily shaken. Impatience cannot be uprooted until we are given opportunities to wait. We can try to make things happen ahead of His timing, which He will allow, but we always forfeit the greatest blessing, what He has for us.
  4. God is no respecter of persons. If God did it for one, He will do it for another. If you see God blessing someone in an area, that means He is more than willing to do it for you. ASK! Once you ask be prepared to wait. If the answer isn’t no, it might be wait.
  5. The parade tests your heart. I call it the parade because whatever you are waiting on from God or asking for, it seems will be paraded in front of you, over and over, and over. If you are struggling with finances you will hear of person after person getting new jobs, new cars, being financially blessed. If you are praying for a miracle, you will see them over and over in other’s lives. Whatever you want from God will be paraded in front of you, before it’s your turn. It’s like when you are fasting and people in your office decide to potluck or bring in your favorite dishes. Why? Will you give up on what you want? Will you be discouraged? Will you hold on to faith when God seems to be blessing everyone but you? DON’T GIVE UP! God has not forgotten you.
  6. Be happy for others because you would want them to be happy for you. Everyone wants to have people to celebrate with when good things are happening in their lives, so get happy for them. One day it will be you and you will want others to celebrate with you and be genuinely happy for you.
  7. Testimony. You can’t have a testimony without a test. We love to be on the mountain and love times when God answers our prayers quickly. There is something amazing about the persevering spirit. Many people enjoy the ministers who have large influence on tv or through books, but I love most of them because they went some horrible things early on in life and kept pressing into God. They know what it is like to suffer, to wait, to be abused, to hurt, to not understand God, and it adds weight to their words. I have a hard time receiving encouraging words on waiting/suffering from someone who has never had to wait on God, has no idea what it means to suffer or has not had their faith tested. Your story may bring hope to millions of people down the road. Your purpose in life is different from the person next to you. Maybe God is preparing you for a worldwide ministry. You don’t know.
  8. Being last isn’t always bad. I used to hate that I was picked last for everything. I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up as a child. I was usually picked last for sports teams or social groups early on in life. I was the last of my friends to finish college, the last to get a full-time job, the last to buy a home, etc…I am normally last when it comes to life. What I have learned is that you can learn a lot from watching others get there first. You can learn from their triumphs and failures. You can learn what you want and what you don’t want. You can sympathize with the underdog (the person who is last). You can enjoy God in the process. He is better than anything we could ask for. He is better than a job, a house, …a fill in the blank. Can we be satisfied with just Him? If He never gives us another thing, He gave us Himself. That is what I learned being last. He is the best thing, the only thing that I can’t live without. Being last also builds a certain kind of compassion in you. You don’t run after the most popular talented person to befriend. You seek out the shy, timid, people, those overlooked, and love on them.

So no matter your stage in life, whether you are in winter or summer, know that God loves you. He is not withholding good things from you. Sometimes we are not ready for the great things yet. Sometimes because we live in a fallen world it just doesn’t seem fair things that happen. But I can promise you one thing, He will make all things work together for your good. If not today; then tomorrow. If not tomorrow; sometime in the future. He is good. He is for you. May your heart be filled with joy knowing that He withholds nothing good from you. Be happy that God doesn’t bless based on performance, because we all fail daily. Be happy that you have Him, the greatest gift anyone could ever give you! You are deeply loved.


Running the Race (when the pavement is rough)

Running the Race (when the pavement is rough)

By E. Lamb

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

What does it mean to persevere? According to the dictionary definition it means, “To persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement.” It is easier to run on a smooth path with no obstacles or discouragement and remain constant or steady. What happens when we are running with God and the path is crowded with disappointment, pain, discouragement, setbacks, unanswered prayer, and obstacles. Maybe your obstacle is sickness or disease or a sickness of a loved one. How well do our feet hit the pavement when our legs are tired and weary from rocky terrain? Many fade away when the road gets rough and rocky. It is there when the path moves from smooth to unsteady that we find out what we believe. Do we believe that God is still on the road with us, or has He abandoned us in the midst of the race? Do we lean on Him or strive to keep ourselves going? It is during the times of facing obstacles and disappointment we discover what we truly believe about God and what we believe about ourselves. When we are not in control, when we cannot see the next phase of the journey, we find out what is in our spiritual foundations.

I can write this particular blog with deep compassion. I understand the word preserve. There have been many moments in my life where I looked up to heaven  with tears clouding my vision proclaiming, “The Lord comforts those who mourn.” Unfortunately and fortunately my heart understands suffering. I dare not compare my life to another. There are people who have and who are experiencing far more than I ever will. I simply speak from what I know. I know the pain of being rejected, despised, betrayed, and hated, even by people who  are relatives. I understand the obstacles of persecution, harassment, and loss. I understand what it is like to watch a loved one suffer and die to the evil disease called cancer. I understand the stress of caring for a sick person and there is nothing you can do nothing to make it better.  I understand what it means to surrender your heart to someone, only to have them break it and hand it back to you in a million pieces. I have experienced quite a bit for such a short time on earth.  I understand what it means to just be tired. Tired of bad news, tired of trauma, and tired of drama. Jesus has picked me up from many a weeping moments whispering, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  I tell you these things to hopefully encourage you that if you keep going there is a blessing on the other side. I did not always believe it in the middle of the rocky road. I did know that I could not, would not be able to live without Jesus so my heart cried out, “Jesus no matter what, don’t let my heart fail.” 

I think sometimes we simply need someone to be honest and say walking with Jesus is not always like dancing on a cloud. It isn’t. There are good days and bad days. There are joyful days and days filled with sorrow. There are days I thought my heart might literally burst from pain, but He never let me down. The best part of running the race with Him isn’t a life filled with no problems, it’s a life lived with the One who will remain steady and constant through those problems. God doesn’t always deliver us from; He often delivers us through. When I look back over my life there are years I am certain the only reason I kept going was because He carried me through. I am not ashamed to state my weakness or frailty or seasons of pain. This is real life.  Real life has seasons, setbacks, obstacles, and disappointments.

The rough pavement if we allow it produces a deeper intimacy with Him, a dependence on His leading, and builds compassion in our hearts for those that will endure the same things or have endured the same trials. So my friends as you run your race, my prayer for you is that you never ever give up. If you have to limp across the finish line, keep going. Don’t look at who is ahead of you, beside you, or behind you. You are being cheered on to victory by those who ran this race before you. You won’t die! Jesus is with you. Believe God loves you even if your circumstances may say otherwise.  My prayers are with you. Keep your eyes on the prize. He is worth it. I promise you He is worth it. I don’t regret one moment with Him. I have found the greatest love and comfort in His arms. He is the best friend you will ever have.  He loves you and He is with you. You are deeply loved. 🙂