Trying to Believe

Sometimes the darkness of this world blinds me to any beauty that may remain. I feel as though the breath has been sucked from my lungs each time I think about my brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe suffering horrific atrocities, most recently in Afghanistan. My soul groans with longing for Home as I scroll through the news and social media and see division, accusations, and presumptuous condemnation spewed from unbelievers and professing believers alike.

In the midst of all this darkness I find it trying to believe the promises I know are true. The promise I have clung most tightly to since my sweet Sarah left is that “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay” (Heb 10:37). But the longer I cling to it and the darker this world feels, the more trying it is to believe.

As I approached His Word this week, weary in heart and desperate for His comfort, a single verse in Psalm 105 leapt off the page at me.

Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him.” Psalm 105:19 [NASB95]

The context of this verse is about Joseph. Joseph was given a vision reflecting a promise God had given him. But there was a long delay and great personal suffering for Joseph in between the receiving of the promise and its fulfillment. God’s Word records here that in the in between time “the word of the Lord tested him.” The King James Version renders it “the word of the LORD tried him.” The word translated “tested” or “tried” here is probably most accurately translated “refined.

As I’ve pondered, meditated and studied this verse all week, I have been captivated by the profound truth it holds. As I consider it in light of the entirety of the New Testament I am struck by the simplicity of the profound realization that my continuing to be tried as I try to believe is intentional, purposeful and fruitful.

I am desperate for Christ’s return. There is nothing this world stands to offer that can rival the Hope His imminent return holds. That was not wholly true of me before Sarah left, there were rivaling temporal desires, but since the day she left they were all swept away. And yet, holding to that Hope has been trying.

Though some would disagree with me theologically, perhaps vehemently, the choice to believe His Word is continually before me, and distinctly so since Sarah left. Sometimes it requires no thought or spiritual warfare, but other times a great battle is required.

In the immediate aftermath of Sarahs death, in some ways it was easier for me to believe, to hold tightly to the promises. Perhaps it was the reality of the truth that “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted,” and indeed His presence was tangible at the time our hearts were initially broken (Psa 34:18). But the longer I wait the more trying I find His Word.

Recently, as I found myself still wrestling to unwaveringly hold to the promises I know to be true, I was beginning to feel a sense of failure. Finding myself wondering why I can’t just once and for all be settled in belief and faith.

But in His tender, compassionate, long suffering and merciful love, He has once again encouraged my frail floundering heart.

Until the time that His Word comes to pass, the Word of the Lord will try me.

Battling to believe and wrestling to hold to his promises is not failure, it is the exercising of faith.

Each time my soul cries out “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” another bit of dross drips away. I am continuing to be refined in the confident waiting, and in the battling and the wrestling.

If you have found yourself being tried by His Word as well, I pray this simple truth is also encouraging to you. The trying of our belief in the midst of the waiting is good and fruitful, it is refining and fortifying our faith.

Cling to His Word with me, and be tested by it alongside me.

In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay...He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Heb 10:37, Rev 22:20)

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 [NASB95]

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Artwork: Sarah Harmening

3 thoughts on “Trying to Believe

  1. friend i sooo resonate with everything u wrote. it was easier at the beginning it seemed. now with all going on in the world it just feels darker and darker. Come Lord Jesus come🙏🙏🙏

  2. Beautifully expressed, Karen! Our Sunday school lesson today was a good one from ECCLESIASTES 9: 1-10. Our new pastor was in Albany, GA, awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild, so Mike Shaw, a friend from grammar school and high school, came to be with us again today. He lost his wife. Mary, on July 10th to cancer. He preached “Come before Winter” this morning, touching on many things about the coming of fall before the winter season. The SS lesson touched on our bucket lists. When I read it, I thought how much things that were once important just aren’t any longer. I have not had a struggle with my faith since Buddy’s passing, but three years for me has seemed an eternity. My daughter’s visit today was timely. I do frequently think, “How much longer?”
    Like you, I see such chaos in our world. The news is terrible if we listen to it very long. We though COVID was bad enough, and now we hear of the plight of so many, many people caught up in this horrible maelstrom in Afghanistan, and such terrible things. We cannot help but ask, “How much longer, Lord?” We know we are closer than before, but there is more that must pass. Reading The ALABAMA BAPTIST this afternoon made me sick when I read the article, “Animal, human, or both?” We are stuck in the horrific ideas brought to us Melvys Dr. Moreau and his experiments with animals but now they have made it worse! Funding of chimera research with taking cells from different species and the use of possible federal funding made me cringe for this nation. Nothing is sacred in the search of some scientists when they consider the “greater good.” Ethics seem to be out the window! This is a grave new world. Our question, “Hoe much longer?” begs for an answer I fear is soon in coming.
    Our only hope is in the LORD.

  3. Beautifully spoken words, Karen. Thank you for sharing. It is an intentional choosing to believe God’s word, His promises, even when we don’t feel or understand it. I have not experienced the loss of a child or grandchild and can’t comprehend the grief. Yet I know it is possible in my own life. I try to not dwell on the possibilities, live each moment in joy (which can be a struggle in our current events and with health issues), and live with an open hand (which is also a struggle). For nothing and no one I have been loaned is mine. I too so desire for Jesus’ return. Then I feel guilty because there are so many lost people and some of them are family members. Jesus comforts and gives me strength by His continual presence and His gentle whisper “just a little longer”. Until then “…. let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1b-2. Praying for my brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world.

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