In the midst of trials, people might wonder where God is. After all, we’ve been praying, where is God? Is my faith not sufficient? Am I not doing it right? Is something else wrong? Perhaps nothing is wrong — the answer comes from Paul’s letter to the Romans, so hang on a bit for the answer.
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things; another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth, for God hath received him. (Romans 14:1–3)
Paul had to deal with a big question — was it okay to eat meat sacrificed to idols? Some said no since the meat was involved in pagan rituals, others thought nothing of it. Who was (is) right?
Paul laid the groundwork for the question in his instruction to the Corinthians.
As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one … But meat commendeth us not to God; for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. (1 Corinthians 8)
An idol is nothing more than a chunk of wood. Eating meat sacrificed to a phony idol therefore, has no power, and really makes no difference. Yet some made a big deal about it, and they instructed others to be strong, and not eat of it, while the weak Christians couldn’t hold themselves to the purer standard.
Paul flips that around.
It’s the weak in faith brother who refrains from eating — the stronger in faith understands nothing is wrong with the hunk of meat, as an idol is nothing.
Okay, stay with me, what can this possibly have to do with Christians suffering horrible trials?
It just could be (maybe), those who pray and pray and request for deliverance, those not being healed might just be the stronger in faith, and the Lord has some reason to allow the situation to continue, perhaps as inspiration for others.
Can this be true? I’m certainly not sure, but as exhibit “A” I present the apostle Paul, who prayed three times for his condition to be removed.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Raise your hand if you think Paul lacked faith or devotion to be healed. Yeah, me neither.
So we have at least one situation where a giant of faith wasn’t healed, and the Lord specifically informed Paul it wasn’t going to happen.
If you’re in trials, sure, you should ask the Lord for intervention. But if nothing happens, consider the possibility the Lord considers your shoulders broad enough to handle the burden. I’m reminded of what the late great Earnhardt said after one race in Daytona about another driver.
“Early in the qualifier, Dale got into the back of me and got me all sideways up through the middle of Turns 3 and 4,” Houston said. “I thought I was gonna crash. I mean, I was way out of control. Well, when we got down there for pre-race for the 500, he come up and grabbed me around the neck like he always does and kinda squeezes you half to death.
“He said, ’You were bad out of shape in that qualifying race, wasn’t you?!?’ I said, ’Yeah, because you had my back wheels off the ground.’ He kind of snickered a little bit, and said, ’Yeah … I knew you could handle it.’…
Perhaps, just perhaps, you’re stuck in a trial because while you think you’re sideways and bad out of shape the Master says “I know you can handle it.” After all, consider Job. (Note to self: remind the Lord never to brag about me)
Content. That’s the word. A state of heart in which you would be at peace if God gave you nothing more than he already has. Test yourself with this question: What if God’s only gift to you were his grace to save you. Would you be content? You beg him to save the life of your child. You plead with him to keep your business afloat. You implore him to remove the cancer from your body. What if his answer is, “My grace is enough” Would you be content?
You see, from heavens’ perspective, grace is enough. If God did nothing more than save us from hell, could anyone complain? If God saved our souls and then left us to spend our lives leprosy-struck on a deserted island, would he be unjust? Having been given eternal life, dare we grumble at an aching body? Having been given heavenly riches, dare we bemoan earthly poverty?
But there are those times when God, having given us his grace, hears our appeals and says, “My grace is sufficient for you”. Is he being unfair? (Lucado, Max “In the Grip of Grace” page 131)