One of the most essential traits for a follower of Christ is to be faithful to the Lord in times of trial and trouble. I learned this lesson once again recently when I had to have a very unpleasant surgical procedure done. Though I'm a woman of faith, and I've seen God do miracles for myself and others in the area of healing, my prayers for deliverance went unanswered in this case. After the surgery, I struggled with disappointment, disillusionment, and despair. As I cried out to the Lord for His perspective and help, He began to impress upon me how He wanted me to trust in His goodness, and His faithfulness to His promises. That's when I got a revelation. And I began thanking and praising God that He is "ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on." (1 Corinthians 1:9 AMP)
At first, things went from bad to worse as I began developing complications from my surgery. It wasn't easy raising my hands to heaven and praising the Lord when my body was in so much pain, and even my doctors didn't know how to help me, but I worshipped God just the same. Suddenly, the Lord moved on my behalf, and I experienced an unexpected and very welcome breakthrough. That's when the Holy Spirit led me to some verses in Scripture that brought me great comfort and encouragement. In Revelation 3:8 (MSG), Jesus says: "I see what you've done. Now see what I've done. I've opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don't have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn't deny me when times were rough." Because I continued to believe and trust in God's faithfulness during my time of pain and suffering, He was already beginning to open new doors of opportunity and blessing for me, and He wanted me to know that they were the result of my refusing to lose faith in Him.
One of the things that was hardest for me to bear during this trial was the thought that some of the people around me, including those who professed to be Christians, might be thinking that I had lost favor in God's sight, and that I no longer pleased Him. So when the Lord showed me the next verse in Revelation 3, I wept for joy. "And watch as I take those who call themselves true believers but are nothing of the kind, pretenders whose true membership is in the club of Satan-watch as I strip off their pretensions and they're forced to acknowledge it's you that I've loved." (v.9 MSG) These words from the Savior sound harsh, but they are His way of conveying to those who are His true followers that He IS pleased with us, and His favor on our lives is for all time. (Psalm 30:5) And because of our unwavering devotion to Him, He will eventually honor us in the sight of everyone. (Psalm 31:19)
The next thing the Lord has to say in this passage from Revelation is that we have some extraordinary rewards and blessings coming when we exercise patience and perseverance in times of trouble. "Because you kept My Word in passionate patience, I'll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test." (Revelation 3:10 MSG) As children of God, we may not escape all trouble, but if we remain faithful, the Lord will spare us from the untold misery that is destined to come upon this earth as mankind continues to turn away from Him.
Revelation 3:11 (MSG) says: "I'm on my way; I'll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown." Don't allow difficult or painful circumstances to distract you and cause you to miss out on the awesome rewards that God has in store for you. Determine to keep your faith in the Lord and His promises, and lay hold of all the victories and blessings He has for you!
Prayer: Lord, give me faith to believe that You are still faithful to Your Word and Your promises, even when I'm going through dark and difficult times. Teach me to praise You continually, no matter what is going on in my life. Fill me with "passionate patience" and perseverance, and help me not to become distracted from what You have called me to do. Thank You that as I keep in step with Your Spirit, You will honor me and keep me safe!
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