Learning To Have A Strong Faith
Friday, January 18 2019
“What is the best way to have a strong faith?”
George Mueller, a well-known and beloved Christian evangelist and educator of the 19th century, was asked this question one day. He was born in Germany but lived in Bristol, England most of his life. As the director of the Ashley Down Orphanage, he took care of more than 10,000 orphans. He also established 117 schools, providing a Christian education for more than 120,000 children.
“What is the best way to have a strong faith?” Mueller repeated. “The only way to learn to have a strong faith is to suffer and survive great difficulties. I have developed my faith by staying firm in the midst of severe struggles.”
Mueller’s response is interesting. According to him, a strong faith can only be obtained by going through afflictions – not that it is the best way; it is the only way. And according to him, you cannot “have” a strong faith; you have to “learn” to have it by going through tribulations, enduring them and overcoming them.
The way Abraham, the patriarch of the Old Testament, did. Romans 4:18-21 says of him: “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sara’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Because “… he believed the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.” (v.17)
Twenty five years of waiting for the promise of God to be fulfilled, the promise that Abraham and Sarah would have a son and a multitude of descendants blessing all the nations. Twenty five years of difficulties and trials, of sins committed and forgiven, of silence and God’s seeming lack of activity.
But Abraham stood firm:
- against all hope he believed and waited
- he did not weaken in his faith, even when he saw and recognized the reality of his old age and his wife’s infertility
- he did not waiver in unbelief, but he reaffirmed himself in his faith by the promise of God
- he was fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised
- without doubting, he believed that his God gives life to the dead and calls those things into being that do not yet exist as though they already did
Like George Mueller a few thousand years later, Abraham learned to have a strong faith by suffering and surviving severe struggles.
Dear friend: are you going through intense tribulations these days? Are you suffering because of profound pain and anguish?
As A. B. Simpson said, do not despise “the value of your present opportunity: if you are passing through great afflictions, you are in the very soul of the strongest faith … you will yet thank God for the school of sorrow which was to you the school of faith.”
And as C. H. Spurgeon said: “Delayed answers to our prayers are not only trials of faith, but they are also an opportunity to honor God through our firm confidence in Him even in the midst of seeming rejection.”
Friend: if your promises from God seem to be delayed, if you are going through great afflictions to see their fulfillment …
- do not faint, let your heart take courage and be strengthened in the power that God gives to you
- do not permit your faith to waiver or weaken; instead reaffirm your faith in keeping with the promises that He has made to you
- believe, without doubting, that He can resurrect even the dead things in your life, and that He calls those things into being which do not yet exist as though they already did
Just as Abraham and George Mueller did, you will also learn to have a great and strong faith.
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