Faith Under Fire

Thursday, May 26, 2016
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I have always admired the apostle Paul, not just because of his wonderful epistles, but because of the hardships and struggles that he underwent. Whenever I hear a fellow pastor or someone else disparaging Paul because of something he wrote that they don't agree with, I tend to ask whether or not that person has ever endured anything similar to what Paul experienced. It's easy to be armchair theologians and cozy, cloistered critics; it's an entirely different thing to be constantly harangued, unfairly attacked, and frequently abused, as for what Paul ardently believed.

Take this partial verse, for instance:

2 Corinthians 6:2b – I tell you, now is the time of God's favour, now is the day of salvation. (NIV)

On the surface, this appears to be a wonderful scriptural promise, connected to God's love, favour, and blessing. It reads like an amazing gift of God's goodness and a surplus of God's generous grace, but Paul follows up on this verse with a staggering list of hardships, drawbacks, attacks, beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger that he personally experienced. Paul was conveying to his readers this one, hard-to-accept fact: having faith in Christ is a beautiful gift, but it can also cause us a lot of pain, difficulty, and suffering. Truthfully, for faith to be really effective, it needs to be tried and tested in serious situations and unhappy circumstances. Fair-weather faith has no lasting value; however, faith under fire has the ability to grow, deepen, and mature.

For the apostle Paul, God's favour was found in a fearless faith, and the day of salvation could even be experienced in times of turmoil and trouble. Perhaps the questions we should be asking ourselves are these: Is my faith actually real? Has it been put through a crucible?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for allowing us to believe in You. Deepen our faith, so that we may remain loyal to You, especially in times of hardship, suffering, and trial. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great food for thought John.

    On the button again, John. Thanks.

    Good point John!

    Praising God for the PresbyCan Daily Devotional page. As part of my morning devotional time, I’m constantly amazed at how often it exactly fits my needs for that day. May those being persecuted be cradled in our loving Saviour’s arms. Blessings.

    Hi John. This is a timely challenge given the world turmoil we are living in. So far we have been protected from it, but we do not know how long this protection will last. SO, as you suggested, it is very important to be well armed, and our spiritual armour needs to be worn at all times.
    Thanks for the challenge.

    Thank you Rev. Stuart for this message. I am so very weary of the continuous and often acrimonious ‘social justice’ dialog dominating our worship hours that I find myself withdrawing from the community. I want to get back to the worship of Holy God. Your words today have prompted me to find my study guide and notes from a group study 2 years ago of Paul’s journey. The focus of that study was Paul’s unwavering faith in God.

    “Consider it pure joy…” was my reading earlier this week, when depressed that I was suffering for my faith! You reminded me that Paul (and probably James) had heavy opposition to the spread of the Gospel. But now we are “joint heirs” PTL Thank you for your many contributions over the years that the DD has been circulating – I always recognize your style before I scroll down and have the name confirmed. You have blessed me and sent me into deeper studies. May the Lord continue to bless you and yours as you contend for The Kingdom.
    (BC Canada)

    Good Morning, John,
    Raining amidst a thunderstorm here in Texas as I read your devotional this morning. Often I have asked myself how my faith would/would not exhibit itself during a real trial. My husband and I have lived almost “charmed” lives. We do have a granddaughter who has Aspberger’s Syndrome and at time it is very difficult for her family. Fortunately, they have the emotional, physical, and fiscal means to help the family. I only hope that my faith would remain strong under very trying circumstances.
    Thank you, once more, for your contribution, John.

    Dear John,
    Once again you have given me just what I need to begin my day. I depend upon my faith for emotional strength to deal with my deep concern for my daughter who has an illness that keeps her from being employed enough to sustain her needs and I am her only support aside from what she is able to earn and also the only family member she has. She lives across the country and is unable to be near me and we have a deep spiritual bond as she is my only child. I lift her up in faith every morning and God has always been faithful to care for us. My test of faith is that I fear for her when I go to be with the Lord how she will manage. As I’m writing this He is telling me that if He is faithful now, He will take care of her then. Shame on me.
    Thank you for speaking to my heart and I have loved Jesus since I was a little child.
    (B.C. Canada)

    God bless you!
    I really need to hear that true, in order to persevere in times of trouble. I’ve been through hard times it seems that never end. But God is always with us! We don’t need to be afraid or discouraged.
    Thank you for motivate me. You are Holy Spirit’s instrument.

    On the button again. Thanks.

    Thanks John for the reality check.
    Who knows what is coming for us Christians in the future.
    Hopefully like Paul we will have have victory and growth in Jesus through our trials.
    Good word John.


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