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Has Your Faith Been Tested?

November 21, 2008
By The Rev. Robert L. Baer Sr., Pastor of the Beverly and Valley Bend United Methodist Churches

"You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible" (Matthew 17:20). How strong is your faith? Has your faith been tested?

Over the last four months, I have given a lot of thought to faith and what we as Christians profess to believe. We attend church regularly and tithe of the blessings God has seen fit to bless us with. But when it comes to faith, we sometimes fall short. We want to believe that we are strong believers and that we could withstand any test thrown our way but, when the test finally comes, do we fall short? When illness overtakes us or someone we love, it's easy to say, "Why did God bring this upon us?" We feel the need to hold someone accountable for our pain and misery, and a lot of times, we point the finger at God. If we will only remember to keep our faith strong through talking to God in prayer, reading scriptures and allowing our friends to comfort us, the blessings of faith begin to be realized.

I didn't realize how many friends I had until I began my battle with cancer and they began to step forward. It is unreal the hundreds of cards I have received, the blessings of food left on our doorstep and gifts from people who love us and care about our welfare. I am blessed beyond words.

I remember when this all started. The church I serve had an anointing and prayer service over me, and when it was over, a lady by the name of Joan said two words to me, "Accept it." Those words are burned into my thoughts because I know what she meant by them. By faith, I must accept the healing being prayed for. Jesus said, "You don't have enough faith," and that is where our Christian faith lies. Faith is trust, and without that, we remove ourselves from the special gift God has offered us. Has your faith been tested?" Are you willing to accept what God is offering? We need to read Matthew 17:20 over and over again. Let the words of Jesus burn into our hearts until we accept it.

I have had a lot of time to reflect on my life these last four months and the vivid memories of sitting in the pine forest behind my home and feeling the cool clean air on my face as I talked to God. I was only about 11 years old, but it was so easy to feel the presence of God in my special place. I had a second place in the corner of a split rail fence where the sun would burn on my face and God's presence was with me there also.

We all need to find that special place and allow God to be a special part of our lives. It may be a bedroom, a closet or a special place where we find solitude and quiet and accept that special gift from God.

Shake off all things that inhibit us from freely praising God and reaching out to others in the spirit of faith and love. When friends gather to comfort you in your time of need, you are being blessed by God.

As you gather in worship on Sunday morning, allow the Holy Spirit to enter your soul and bless you in ways only God can bless you. Maybe you will find an amen or hallelujah to encourage your pastor.

Has you faith been tested? If it has, just stay strong in your faith, trusting only God, and you will be fine.

May God bless you richly in this Thanksgiving season and may you share your blessings with others.

(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)



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