And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. – Genesis 26:12-13
Here we see Isaac receiving God’s blessings of fruitful harvests and wealth. But you wouldn’t think it so since, not moments before, Isaac had sinned horribly by deceiving the Philistines and lying to the king. Even so, God forgave him and continued to bless him.
We learn from this that God does not remain angry forever. Fact is that, in this life, things go wrong. Sometimes things go wrong because of others, and sometimes things go wrong because we sin and mess everything up. But relying on God and His promises gets us through, for God has asked us to rely only on Him, in both good or ill, and we must trust Him. The Psalmist writes it like this: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14), and “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” (Psalm 31:24). Even when we are in the mist of great danger and strife, when everything around us is crumbling, when friends despise us, when enemies revile us, when nothing is going our way, God WILL take care of us, and we can trust Him and His Word. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Believers are tested and testing is part of God’s work of growing faith. Otherwise, our faith would grow cold and weak. When you run from His testing and seek your solace in worldly things, then you also run from faith, such that faith could disappear completely. But when we are tested, we learn what faith is and we are strengthened in our knowledge of Christ. We become strong, so strong in fact, that no troubles or anxieties will strip us of our joy, and we can be just as happy in suffering as we are in good times. We understand that hardships and struggle are but a morning fog soon to disappear by the sun.
Heavenly Father, keep me strong in times of suffering, and keep me faithful when You test me. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.
The March edition of The Lutheran Witness is out! Read online or pick up your printed copy at church. This month’s articles include:
- None Excluded (a study of the “Nones”)
- Reversing the Trend
- On Witchcraft
- …and much more!