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Have you ever doubted God’s love for you in times of crisis? Have you ever wondered if you’ve done something that displeases God enough that He’s turned his face from you? Have there been times when the answers to your problems have been so difficult to grasp that you’ve been sure you’d never find the solution?
There were many men and women in the Bible who felt just that way. I look at the lives of men such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and King David who were all heroes of the Old Testament and each of them encountered extremely difficult situations that were not resolved quickly. There had to have been times when they felt they had lost God’s favor, or that they were displeasing Him. Think about it for a moment. How many years was it before Abraham received that promised child? How long did Moses have to stumble through the wilderness with a bunch of stiff-necked Hebrews? How many years was Joseph behind bars for a crime he refused to commit after his brothers had sold him into slavery? And how long did King David have to run from Saul after being anointed king of Israel?
So why is it that God didn’t immediately answer the cries of these heroes? Why did He let them struggle and doubt? Had they lost favor? Was God displeased with them? Had He turned away from them? Abandoned them?
We are so blessed today that we have the Word of God to look back on and see the hand of God working in the lives of these men and know that He does indeed work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) In His personal letters to us (His Word, the Bible) God allows us to see how He works in each situation and to draw hope from seeing how He worked in each life written within. He demonstrates that we should glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)
God was building faith in each of these men. He was molding their character to be more like His. He was training them to follow after Him in every situation. He was teaching them to trust through the perseverance they had to demonstrate in every step they took. It is how He developed their character to be more like His. Could that be what he’s doing for us today as well? Could that be why there isn’t a quick resolution or an easy answer to some of our most difficult, challenging problems?
I believe it is. For it is only in molding us into His image (which is often done through tribulation and struggle) that our faith in the Lord grows.
What do I love most about the lives of each of these men? It is the end of their story. As in the case of Moses the Scriptures record, “But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” (Deuteronomy 34:10)
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.