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The Beauty In The Pain Of Tested Faith

It’s easy to delve out advice when you’re living in a fairy tale. The other day I was watching something on TV and there was this sweet, young couple who had recently gotten engaged. They really were precious and so full of faith. Many of the answers they gave to the interviewer were simple and to the point. Each one Biblically sound, but because of their naivety of life, their answers came across a bit disingenuous, and you could tell the interviewer has his doubts as to the validity of this couple’s wisdom. Having grown up knowing Jesus, I understood a lot of their answers, and fifteen years ago I would have sounded much like they did. However, now, despite having faith and knowing so deeply God actually is in control and having faith that He is working all things for my good, I will not hand out cliches and pat answers. Unlike these two sweet kids on the verge of adulthood, I have seen that having faith in God doesn’t mean that things will turn out the way I think they will. There usually isn’t a bow on the end of most stories and tragedy will strike in ways we never imagined. But to me, that’s the most beautiful canvas God works with: when life isn't easy and tragedy is reality.

He never promises things will go smoothly or that as long as we have faith in Him, the right choices will be easy. Instead, He offers to be with us in this world, guiding and leading us. But that also doesn’t negate the fact He has amazing things planned for us. It's not an" either or" but rather an "and" kind of faith.

Pain insists on being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. - C.S. Lewis

So in light of knowing their faith will be tested, I say a prayer for this sweet, young couple and ask God to sustain their faith when storms come. I don’t doubt their genuineness at all. In fact in them I saw something I once cherished, unchallenged faith. Unchallenged faith doesn’t know the risks. It hasn’t experienced heart break or known the bitterness of sleepless nights like David talked about when he said “Day and night I have only had tears for food”. Unchallenged faith has never gotten the phone call that changes everything or suffered a blow from someone else’s hand. Unchallenged faith also has never experienced the redemptive power of the cross in the situations that threaten to destroy. It doesn’t know the freedom of God for the heart that has been covered in shame. Unchallenged faith has never seen the hand of God shine brightly while the world around it is crumbling, and it sure doesn’t know the supernatural peace that God gives when chaos and pain abound. When our faith has been tested and we have seen God undoubtedly come through, we are no longer tempted to throw out cliches or speak of faith as if it is a trite thing. Instead, we aware that we are most likely encountering others who themselves have been or are in a storm and need to know that God is strong enough. Even though there is a sweetness in unchallenged faith, I am so thankful to have seen my faith tested and know God's power is not just a theory, but also something I can stake my life on...

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