Discipleship

A Test of Faith?

Banyan Tree-Hawaii. Photo credit: flickr.com

Banyan Tree-Hawaii. Photo credit: flickr.com

Is there anything that challenges your faith right now? I do. A few days ago, our company informed us that our monthly salaries for May 2016 and June 2016 will be delayed. For how long, nobody knows. We have been dreading to hear this for months. But when the moment came, it was a total shock to all of us. Though it was inevitable, it was a reality that was difficult to accept at first.

The current political and security climate in Libya is bleak and the economy continues to plummet with a negative forecast.  The Oil & Gas Sector was one of the hardest-hit industries and as the government is unable to appropriate funds due to political bickering, it continues to cripple the Libyan economy.  Sadly, most if not all of our clients were unable to meet their obligations to their suppliers which greatly affected our company’s financial capability. And there is no solution in sight to alleviate the present situation and reverse the economic breakdown.

This is the ground reality. But my faith tells me otherwise. It tells me to persevere because “God will provide me of all my needs” (Phil. 4:19)  Is my faith being tested? Maybe yes, maybe no. But the simple fact is, faith must be tested in order to find out if it is genuine or not.  In both the Old and New Testament, to test means “to prove by trial”. According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, both the Hebrew word “bahan” and the Greek word “dokimazo” and its cognates, are used to test building, precious metals, or Christian character. (cf. 1Cor. 3:13, 1Pet. 1:7, Rom. 5:4, & James 1:2-3). http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/temptation-test.html

The testing of faith may come in small daily annoyance or irritations from people or things or situations, or it could be in the form of great afflictions and attacks from the enemy – just like in the case of Job.  The continuous testing will strengthen the faith as the person trust in God more and more. It requires moving out of one’s comfort zone and venture into the unknown. I remember how my wife and myself fasted and prayed before I returned to Libya in 2012, right after the revolution. I had another offer at that time from a local company in the Philippines but after fasting and praying, we came to a decision that it is better for the family if I were to return to Libya.  And return I did. It has been four years and I never regretted that decision because I was able to continue my ministry of teaching and preaching the word of God in a war zone.

In times of testing, what can we do?  A Christian digs deeper into the word of God. He is like a tree that buries its roots more deeply in order to have a better grasp of the soil and remain steadfast. I have resolved in my heart to wait on the Lord and to trust completely in Him.  Whatever happens from here is beyond my control, so what is the use of worrying? I have lifted them all to God.  His promise to supply all my needs was not made lightly and therefore He must have a provision for His children in dangerous times like this. Knowing this brings peace to my heart.

On the reality of things, there is one thing I am grateful to God for working in this company: the strength of character and overwhelming kindness of our managing directors. I have seen it first hand during the Libyan Revolution of 2011, especially during the evacuation to Tunisia, Egypt, and Malta.  The managing directors  have been a source of inspiration and strength not only to me but to the other workers as well. We know that they won’t gave up so easily and therefore we will support them every step of the way.

SHORT PRAYER:

Dear God, we are in the midst of a financial crisis and although there is no light in this long and dark tunnel we trust completely in the abundance of your provision and in your amazing grace.  Though we are facing an impossible situation, and we don’t deserve what we ask of you, we believe you will come to our rescue and take control of things beyond our capacity and understanding. We don’t know what the future holds for us, but what we do know is that you hold the future in your hands. We lift all our worries and cares into your hands. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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