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]