[forthright] A God You Can Count On

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2004 03:26:49 +1200
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross


A God You Can Count On
Tom Kelton

Our Lord is a high-test, high-performance God. We
can trust Him to do as He says He will. Many times
it seems that the Lord won't be able to fulfill
His promises, but even when a situation looks
hopeless, our best recourse is to be patient and
wait; God will be faithful.

Often God does not show us the valley between the
promise and the fulfillment. He doesn't tell us in
advance about the testing, the humiliation, the
trials which will come into our lives and prepare
us to receive His later blessing. When Abram set
out from Haran, he had no idea that he would
encounter famine and enemies. His faith was tested
before the blessing came. There was a long delay
from the time God gave Abram the promises in
Genesis 12 to the time He began to fulfill those
promises — twenty-five years to be exact. Through
those years, Abram's faith would be tested and
tempered by the experiences the Lord allowed him
to endure.

God told Joseph in a dream in Genesis 37 that his
brothers would bow before him, that he would one
day be in a place of great leadership. The next
thing, Joseph found that he was in a pit, then in
a prison. Only after thirteen years of slavery and
captivity in Egypt would he be made prime minister
of the land, second in command to Pharaoh. Nine
more years passed before the brothers who betrayed
him bowed before him. Joseph's trials were intense
before he ever saw God fulfill what He had
promised, but He was faithful.

God has given us a promise of eternal life. He
does not reveal beforehand the discipline that
will go on in our lives between the promise and
its fulfillment. The difficulties, the trying
situations are what He's allowing so that we will
be strengthened. Through these experiences, we
will be prepared to receive His blessings.

Even though we don't know how we will be tried
before we are blessed, we should expect to be
tested in the pursuit of God's will. The apostle
Paul teaches that we can expect the test when he
writes in 1 Thessalonians 3:4: "For indeed when we
were with you, we kept telling you in advance that
we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came
to pass, as you know." Like Paul, we can fully
anticipate that our lives as Christians will
contain some pitfalls and obstacles. Just because
we are faithful to Christ doesn't mean that we are
protected from problems.

Those who would leave the impression that becoming
a Christian ensures that one's life will be filled
with wealth, good times, and no problems are
deceiving their audience. God has promised to be
with His children (Matthew 28:20), and He has
promised that all things will work together for
good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28) — but
those promises were not meant to shield us from
the challenges that come from living in this
world. Through our faithfulness in good times as
well as bad, God uses the natural difficulties of
life to mold and temper us into vessels of gold in
His service (Romans 5:1-5; 2 Timothy 2:2).

Thanks to The Voice of Truth International, Vol.
35, pgs. 88,89.

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