Over fifty years as a Christian, I’ve seen some of the most passionate Christians fall away for some of the most trivial of reasons. I’ve also seen some of the newest of believers go through trials and come through stronger than before. I’ve known high profile ministers fall into immorality. I am also acquainted with ministers who have spiraled into deception, skewing minor truths of the Bible into central doctrines in their teaching. I also know ministers who faithfully serve God in small churches, unheralded and uncelebrated. They lasted the journey, and never gave up!
Have you ever asked yourself what might make you give up the faith and stop running the race? I have often reflected on this. Would it be if some tragedy like an accident, or stroke left you paralysed or blind? Would it be if a beloved member of your family met an untimely death? Or if a business or relationship failure shook you to the core? Or if God seems so “unfair” in your situation? Or you seem not to be getting anywhere in your life, and God seems so far away? Or if a pastor or elder you trusted “let you down” badly, or offended you?
Daniel’s three friends faced the ultimate test. The king wanted them to bow to his idols or face death. They stuck to their guns. God is real, they said. He is the true God. They will worship Him alone and never let go of their faith, no matter what. They would never cease worshipping Him. God will see them through. Their cry was: “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:18). Over the years, I have come to quietly embrace this as my foundation when trials and pains come. God, You are able to deliver me. But if not, I will still worship and serve You! But if not… is a powerful phrase for all of us to hold fast to, for only God knows the end from the beginning.
Philip Lyn 医生牧师