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Tue, Feb. 18

An important element of faith is patience

In Holland during WWII, Corrie Ten Boom and her sister hid Jews in their house to save them from Nazi concentration camps. Eventually, the authorities discovered them and both Corrie and her sister were interned in the camps. Her sister died, but by God's grace Corrie survived. Her story is well recorded in both the book and the movie "The Hiding Place."

While still alive, Corrie became a very popular speaker who made the circuit testifying about the Lord. She would say, "I'll go, you pray." Later in life, after suffering a stroke, Corrie Ten Boom said, "You go, I'll pray." There are times that the Lord will allow us to be hemmed in on every side. As a pastor and missionary, I have been a mover and a doer most of my life. I have pastored in different cities and states and traveled overseas to preach Christ. In recent years, since coming to the tri-state area, doors have seemed to close, one after another. I have always enjoyed marching for Christ, but God has given me a time of waiting without clearly hearing His instructions. I have come to realize that this too is a vital part of my Christian growth.

Every genuine follower of Christ will have his or her faith tested by various trials. The Greek word for tribulation is "thlipsis." This Greek word conveys the picture of something being crushed, pressed, or squeezed from a great weight. Another Greek word for suffering, "stenochoria," connotes being confined in a small and excruciatingly uncomfortable space. When we think of trials we often think of the suffering that accompanies illness, loss of a loved one, or financial pressure. Waiting when God is silent can also be very difficult.

The Psalmist cried, "How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?" (Psalm 13:1-2).

David also wrote in Psalm 28:1, "For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit."

As believers, all of us will experience times when God seems silent. The solution to the painful process is faith. We trust in God's Word even when our circumstances seem to scream otherwise. It has been said that waiting is winning. If today you find yourself hemmed in and desperately wanting answers, the answer is in Exodus 14:13, "Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord." Deliverance and answers will come in His time. Meanwhile, consider the testing of your faith "pure joy" (James 1:2), because God is honoring you with the opportunity to mature and deepen in your relationship with Him.

Dear believer in Christ, we are in the last days. The coming of the Lord is near. All who have trusted Christ are being tested in this critical hour. Keep looking up. First John 5:4 declares, "This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." Press forward for greater intimacy with Christ even in the darkest hour. He has prepared mansions for His children and we will yet see His mighty hand of deliverance. Wait patiently, trust Christ, and let the joy of His salvation be your strength this day. God loves you, believer, and He has paid the price for all of your sins at Calvary. Rest in His love today.

Roger Scalice, pastor and missionary for over 30 years, can be reached by e-mail at grow_ingrace@yahoo.com.

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