“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5)
What happens if you don’t, what happens when, not if, but when we stop trusting, not continuously of course, but for short seasons? Will God despise us, will He turn His back upon us, stop blessing us and possibly even chastise us? How are we to know when the Almighty is testing our faith, when He has determined to place something in our path that we see as detrimental?
How we react in times of testing determines how much we trust God, the problem is that we want the answer to our prayers in those times to be as we would desire them to be, we want the outcome to be what we consider the most beneficial for us. So, many times we trust only until things go as we want, and we stop trusting when they do not.
In this short letter I would ask you to consider two verses that, to put it bluntly, have plagued me the last few days. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Phil. 4:11) And “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.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
In both of these the Holy Spirit is saying to us that the circumstances that we are in if we are in an unbroken fellowship with the Lord are the circumstances that the Lord wants us in. This cannot be true if there is unrepented of sin in your life, in that case you can be sure of Numbers 32:23, “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” I speak here of the one who is living their life as best as they can solely for the glory of God, and yet the circumstances of that man’s life seem more than just detrimental at the moment, but downright painful, whether physically, mentally or spiritually, God is putting this man to the test.
Paul wanted the pain to go away, a pain that men since those words were written have conjectured over, but the type of pain is immaterial to the request, three times he asked. We do not know either how long of time passed between those three requests, and that may be the heart of the matter. I would presume that Paul knew what Ananias had heard from the Lord about Paul’s life in Christ to come, he knew what God had said to him, “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:16)
He expected to suffer, but this time it was bad enough that Paul asked for it to be removed, not once, but three times. When the Lord told him that His grace was sufficient the pain did not go away, it may not have even abated any, but Paul’s trust in the Lord, which may have been diminished ever so slightly when he asked for it to be removed a second and then a third time was restored, perhaps even strengthened.
The burden would never be more than he could bear.
If it was physical, it must have really hurt, if it was mental, it plagued him to the point of despair, if it was spiritual, who else would he speak with? This man received direction directly from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Believe it or not, it is true, there are going to be times in your life when you do not trust God, when your prayers on a particular heart wrenching matter are going to be answered with “My grace is sufficient,” or not answered at all. I keep coming back to one man, possibly because of my own pain, which cannot in anyway be compared to his, for Lazarus sat at that rich man’s gate full of sores, trusting God. Jeremiah trusted Him through many tears of mental anguish, Stephen trusted Him as they stoned him to death. And Job? Job said what all of us should be able to say, no matter what answer we receive, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15)
If we would be honest with ourselves, there are times when we wish He would.
“In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:19)