Can God Trust You to be Faithful?
At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
God seeks to inculcate within us great character – HIS character. Our trials are designed to challenge us to rise to the occasion, and to cast aside our way of doing things in favor of doing things God’s way. The Holy Spirit not only guides us in the way we should go, but provides the very means to do it, whether it is strength, endurance, wisdom, words, or anything else that is needed for God to accomplish His goals through us.
God greatly desires and has planned to do just that – to use His people to showcase Himself, rather than just appear as a great tower or smoke or pillar of fire as He once did for Israel. We are to be used as His hands and feet and mouths so that His work in our lives can be displayed, rather than just signs and wonders to behold and possibly be ignored. He seeks to have a relationship with His creation, and particularly with us humans. This is shown in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, as well as the way that God has worked through people all throughout the Bible.
God doesn’t have a “Plan B”. Christians are it. If we fail to do what we are supposed to do, then God’s plans won’t be completed the way He desires them to be completed. Even now, God must reveal Himself through dreams and visions to people who live in the Middle East under Sharia law, as the evil there is so bad that even mentioning Christ will get you beheaded. It’s hard to get the message out when the messengers are murdered before the message is completely delivered! Speaking of messengers, Proverbs 25:13 tells us something about the ones with good character:
Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time
is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him;
he refreshes the spirit of his master.
Trustworthy Through Trials
God is seeking men and women who are willing to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Jesus. God needs people who are able to trust in Him to deliver them through the most difficult of trials. Jesus experienced great hardship at the hands of men and His trials. God appoints those who are trustworthy through trials to different positions depending on their ability and need.
God calls people to different many different responsibilities. He who knows all things determines what and where His people should be called. He selects them as He sees fit.
Many are selected to be leaders. People should not seek a position of leadership without the calling of God. The burden of leadership is great, and requires a specific personality and mentality to do it right. Look at how many people are in leadership today that are causing so much grief to the ones that they have been placed over. We should soberly look at this and give great consideration before accepting any position of leadership. Remember – leaders will be judged more strictly than others because of the responsibility of their role.
Some are selected to be the overseers of great wealth. Although many (if not most) of us would say, “Sure – I’ll take that!”, it is most probable that they would fail miserably at the task. The Bible says that if we can be trusted with little, we can be trusted with much. Many Christians are living paycheck to paycheck. It’s not that they don’t have enough money to live frugally and save, it is just that the call of culture and desire of our hearts is to spend the money provided to us by God on ourselves. Many people are not fiscally prudent, nor even know how to be. Self-control in this department sometimes seems absent, and the wisdom to know what to do with money, as well as what not to do with money, seems to be missing from many Christians’ lives.
It takes someone who have been trained by a knowledgeable mentor to understand these concepts and put them in practice. For instance, in a perfect world, where the average rate of return on an investment is 12% per year (don’t laugh – we know times are tough and something like this is very unlikely at present), that a person that is eighteen years of age who puts $1000 U.S. into a Roth IRA investment every year for just 10 years, and leaves it alone, will have over one million U.S. dollars waiting for them at age 65 – TAX FREE.
How many people are willing to do that at that age, or consistently? What if the return is only 8%, but they invest the maximum allowed per year every year (at this time, through two separate employers [you can be self-employed as well] a person can put in $5,500 U.S. dollars TOTAL) for just 20 years? At age 65, they will have almost two and a half million U.S. dollars waiting for them. Who knew?
In any case, it would be a terrible thing to have to give an accounting to God of how great wealth was lost through fiscal mismanagement or spent on personal enrichment.
Taken Through Trials
There is a reason that Jesus suggested that we pray, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” He Himself was led by the Spirit of God to be tested by Satan himself. We are going to be taken through trials to purge the dross that we have within us. We shouldn’t be surprised at the trials that we face. Regardless of what we are selected to do, we will face trials of many kinds. Sometimes, they can take decades before we are ready (it took God forty years to get the Egypt out of Moses before He called him to service…) But there is one specific calling that no one wants to receive, and that God requires the greatest trust from His people .
Selected for Suffering
God trusts us with what we are able to do and won’t allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to endure without providing a way. God DOES give us more than we can handle so that we can grow in faith and character as we overcome our deficiencies with HIS strength, power, and ability.
One of the most difficult callings, or selections, is to be called to suffering. God will eventually remove all suffering and pain. Sometimes these things happen because it is God’s will that they happen and are not a direct result of sin:
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
It is very difficult for a person when God selects them for suffering. Having to bear that tests a person’s faith down to its very core. When the trial is prolonged (especially accompanied with excruciating pain) without help from others who support and encourage rather than assume and accuse, depression can set in, because the suffering is so great.
God greatly desires that Christians be patient and compassionate with people who have been called to this. This does not include whiners who have a hangnail and act as though they have been skewered with a spear like a stuck pig. These are people who have crippling diseases (like Lyme’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, and the like). Not every disease manifests itself on the outside for all to see. And the mental and emotional abuse afflicted upon people is much harder to see than physical abuse.
Even though God’s people are called to suffering, God assures us that eventually all pain and suffering will end for those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. Sometimes that will be addressed in this life (like the blind seeing, the lame walking, the sick cured, and the like), or in the next. Either way, God will eventually provide an end to it. But just as Jesus said concerning the blind man who was that way from birth, there is purpose to it – not only for character development, but so that the works of God can be put on display.
There was once a story about a man who came into a logging camp. He was shown the logging operations, and was given the grand tour. When they came to the river where the logs were being floated down to the logging plant from where they were cut, a logger stood at the edge of the river. Every now and then, he would use a pole that he was carrying and reroute a cut tree down a smaller fork in the river.
The man asked the logger who was directing the trees what he was doing. The logger replied, “oh, those are special trees”. The visitor asked, “What is so special about them, and how can you tell?” The logger replied, “The trees I am selecting are very special. They were harvested from the very tops of the mountains. The winds are ferocious up there, and these trees are bent as the storms wail against them, but they stay strong and resilient. Although all of the trees are profitable, these trees have endured the greatest of trials, and are greatly prized by furniture makers and artists, and are worth many times more than what the other trees are worth. They will be used in ways that show their beauty, and when they are finally shaped, will endure for generations as priceless antiques and masterpieces.”
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
If you have been selected for great suffering, rejoice: God plans to use you in the most beautiful of ways. Once you have been tested, expect to be put on display.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask ourselves a question: Am I demonstrating to God that I can be trusted with whatever He is selecting me to do and be?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are good and gracious. Help me to both find the area where I am called, and to do thrive in it so that You may be glorified. Strengthen me so that I will be able to endure all the trials that I have been appointed to, and to overcome any difficulties that I encounter. May Your character be put on display at all times, that as an image-bearer for You, I would be able to fulfill all that you have planned for me to do since before time began. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.