by Meray Shehata
Yesterday I walked on water, but today I held Peter’s hand as we both started to drown.
Yesterday I slaughtered the lion, but today I cowered next to Samson as we betrayed You.
Yesterday I watched as Goliath fell, but today nothing could have prepared me for how low I was willing to sink for worldly things.
Yesterday I stood solemnly in my place not willing to budge as You threw blow after blow at me, but today I denied You to lessen my own pain.
Yesterday I wiped Your face with my veil, but today I stabbed You with my spear.
Lord, why do I sometimes accept You when you give me riches but discard You when I have plenty, only to cry out again when the riches have drowned me? I’ve grown to expect the world at my feet but when I have achieved the impossible I lose sight of You in all my success. I declared with all Your people to have brought myself out of Egypt and then, as if to boost my own ego, I built a golden calf to praise.
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matt. 14:31)
I have no reason to doubt, I sat with Job as I lost everything but I was also there when my riches all multiplied. Our lungs filled up with water as we drowned but I was there when you took our hand and pulled us out of the water. They cut my hair and reduced me to not even a third of the man I was but You gave me strength to abolish their temple. I killed a man but my name is remembered honourably until now.
What is this faith that people speak so highly of?
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).
It’s a concept so beautiful, yet so hard to attain. Although I can provide one million reasons for you to have faith, it’s still a constant battle. When tribulation comes knocking, doubt follows soon after. Sadly, doubt doesn’t like announcing itself as it enters your mind. This uncertainty is much more sly and tends to build up over time, masked by stress or anxiety. Sometimes losing faith is not as simple or clear cut as discontinuing your belief in God but rather a growing distance between God and yourself, when all your mind really yearns for is His embrace. Oftentimes, it seems that the answer is so far away from the truth. If only you get a bit of fresh air, a change of scenery, watch a movie? Then you’ll feel better. Of course, that may work short term as it does for me, but frequently I find myself right where I started if not worse, until I seek Him again.
I tend to see Job as a pillar of faith. How does one man stand to watch everything but his life waste away yet return and pray, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21). God knew the depth of his faith and when Job hesitated even for a second, God responded in a whirlwind saying, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding.” (Job 38:4).
Although our tribulations sometimes are not as clear as it was for those who came before us and Christ may not appear to pull you out of the water, there is only one solution. Faith. If you knew the plans He had for you, you would stick by Him through it all, but if a faith is never tested, where would it come from? If we are aiming to be filled with virtue and have faith like Job, we need to remember this always. Ask yourself, where were you when He engraved you on the palm of His Hand? Where were you when He made you fearfully and wonderfully in His image? God doesn’t just have a plan for your life, He has the greatest plan. Do not walk begrudgingly through trials and do not assume you’re doing Him a favour when you turn to Him as times get tough.
Remember Job, remember Joseph, remember Moses, remember Esther, remember Abraham and all the characters throughout the Bible and the history of our church. God’s love is magnificent and if you allow Him, He will work in you as He worked in them. Praise Him through the storm and you will not only receive blessings of grace, but your faith will be refined. “Man plans his path, but God direct his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9). Let Him be your guidance. When all we want is to stand on our own two feet, God is placing obstacles along the way to make us soar like eagles.