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Faith can’t be trusted until it’s tested

Josh Clark, CEO Richer Life

March 28, 2015

Recently, a man was driving his Porsche on the Ortega Highway, one of the most dangerous mountain roads here in Southern California. He took an unexpected turn too quickly and drove right off the edge. As his car fell, he was able to grab a tree growing from the cliff face. He watched as his $90,000 sports car bounced thousands of feet to the canyon floor below.

“Help!” he screamed. “Can anyone hear me?” An echo was all he heard in response.
“God, can you hear me?” he called.
Incredibly, clouds rolled in, and a voice like thunder replied, “Yes, I can hear you.”
“Please help me?” The man said.
“Do you believe in me?”
“Yes, I believe in you.”
“Do you trust me?”
“Yes, I trust you. God, Please, hurry!”
“If you trust me, then let go of the tree,” boomed God’s voice.
After a long period of silence, the man cried, “Can anyone else hear me?”

This story is a variation of an old preachers tale I’ve told many times. It’s always good for a chuckle, and it always makes me pause because it’s true. As humans, there is a spiritual aspect of our lives that cannot be denied. Our spiritual needs must be met spiritually; nothing else will fill the void. We want to believe in something. We need to believe in something and for most of us, we do. But it’s not until our faith is tested that we find out if it can truly be trusted.

I’ve never driven my car off a cliff. But, like the man in our story, I have found myself holding precariously onto something I believed in more than God. Sometimes it’s a job; other times it’s a relationship, a money market balance, or even my Klout score. I live my life by faith, everyone does.

“All of us have faith, it’s where we place it that truly matters.”

We all have faith. We exercise our faith each and every day. John Bisagno wrote, “Faith is at the heart of life. You go to a doctor whose name you cannot pronounce. He gives you a prescription you cannot read. You take it to a pharmacist you have never seen. He gives you a medicine you do not understand and yet you take it.” Every day we act on our beliefs. Sometimes we have facts to back up our beliefs, other times we don’t.

The most difficult times in our life can cause us to question our faith. Discovering that beliefs we’ve held may need to change, is difficult. There is a book in the Bible that chronicles one man’s struggle with his faith; it’s the book of Job. In it, we watch as Job questions his beliefs in God as a result of extreme loss and pain. We watch his friends come up short. We see him wrestle with God’s unchanging response. We watch as his faith is tested and by the end of the book, we admire him, for how his faith has grown. Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote, “Faith like Job’s cannot be shaken because it is the result of having been shaken.”

We want our faith to grow, but we don’t want our faith to be challenged. Faith doesn’t work like that. So, if you are in a season where your faith is being challenged? Let me encourage you with the words of James, an early church father, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4 NLT

I’m a long way from perfect and that means I’ve got some troubles ahead. But my God has come through in the past and my ability to trust him has grown as I’ve allowed him to challenge my limiting beliefs.

Whatever your tree, it may be time to consider: Is God is asking you to let it go?

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