I’ve been reading about Job and reflecting on his suffering. He experienced massive loss and grief, yet his response was to worship. And I found myself asking the question, “If I had undergone all the death, destruction, pain and personal suffering that Job went through, would I be praising God?”
I'm not sure that any one of us can answer that question because we simply don’t know. Some reading this will have experienced more sorrow in their lives than others, but I doubt even they can truly relate to the experience that Job had.
But, through recognising that Job survived and worshipped because he had a deep faith, one that was built on a personal and close relationship with God, we can be more honest with ourselves about how strong our faith is and how we can strengthen it. My Bible commentary tells me that our foundations are critical, we need them to be deep and solid to withstand the weight and stresses of life.
When I had been a Christian for just a few months, I wanted a platform, a place to speak out about my testimony and an opportunity to challenge the more liberal church. I was so mad with God that those opportunities were not forthcoming. A couple of years into my walk with the Lord I received an email from a publisher who was supportive of my story, yet he recommended that I had more time under my belt as a Christian in order for it to be more effective. Initially I was annoyed, hurt even, I could not see what difference that would make to my ability to speak out.
Looking back, I am so happy that the publisher gave me that advice and I now recognise that I was far from ready. I don’t even think I was at the stage where God could lay foundations, I think He was still digging the trenches for the foundations to be laid! As I have had more time with God asking Him to help me build my faith, taking time to draw closer to God, He has done an awesome job of laying the foundations which can now be built on still further, to enable me to serve him in a contentious and extremely divisive area of ministry.
As I spend time in praise and worship, in prayer and in God’s word, God is constantly communicating, teaching and guiding me, constantly showing me His ways and encouraging me to step out in faith. As I take those steps, the work God has done on my foundations is proving to be invaluable. Whilst I am nowhere near being completed, I am stronger and less shakeable, I can stand up to a few earthquakes without faltering and I feel much better prepared for the storms to come.
I am privileged to be in regular contact with other relatively new Christians who have turned away from their homosexual pasts for Jesus. I see in them the same desire to jump into mission and to serve God within this community and that fills my heart with joy. Yet I also find myself in the position where I must urge caution and recommend intentional faith development, time of prayer and study, time of waiting on God to help them to fully prepare for their Kingdom work.
Whatever your testimony, take time with God and invite Him to strengthen your foundations, so that when He is ready (and remember it is all in His timing) you will be an unstoppable force, unshaken and firm in your faith, and perhaps like Job, you will be able to stand firm and worship in each and every trial that comes your way. Don’t try and rush the process, it’s tough but trust God with the process, and He will deliver far greater things that you ever asked for or expected!