Hold on to the Promises

Even the most dedicated Calvinist goes through times of doubt, anxiety, and questions concerning God’s sovereign will.  This is especially true in sorrowful events and when we are seeking to accomplish things for Christ’s kingdom.

Just because we are Reformed in our theology does not mean that we have superior faith. 

Thomas Paine wrote during the American War of Independence, “These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

Trials, tribulations, and temptations test our faith, increase our faith, and secure our faith.

First, consider the test of our faith.  The battlefield proves the soldier.  While training and preparation is of utmost importance, it is not until the chaos of the battle that the true virtues of the warrior are tested.  Some can play war and looked skillful, but once the bullets start flying weaknesses are revealed.

When our faith is tested and even insufficiencies revealed, it allows us to work on our strengths and weaknesses so that we can be a better soldier for Jesus Christ.

Second, consider the increase of our faith.   The testing of our faith gives us the opportunity to increase Christian virtues in our lives through its exercise in waging war against trials, tribulations and temptations.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” –Romans 5:1-5

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” –James 1:2-4

Third, it secures our faith.  It is through trials, tribulations and temptations we learn more of God’s sufficient grace.  We should go to the Lord with all our cares but instead of throwing and temper tantrum when we do not get what we want, we should be ready to hear from God through His Word.

“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:8-10 

The trial of our faith is to continue the work of sanctification in us.  These difficult days in our lives help us to learn that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).  This strength is through Christ because “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

Brothers and sisters in Christ, hold on to the promises!