As I write this column, there is one scripture which stands out very boldly in my heart, it is like a massive neon sign and it says, "All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28, NKJV.
I have been severely tested in the last couple of weeks and have even got to the stage where I'm saying, "Lord where are You?" But I must confess straight after that I have repented, because if you count your blessings and you look, my dear friend, from where you have come, you will understand that none of us have any grounds on which to ask a question like that. He has never let me down, He has never forsaken me and He has never done that to you neither, no matter how you are feeling at this time.
You see our Lord has never promised you and me a bed of roses when we committed our lives to Him. Psalm 34:19 (NKJV) states very clearly, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all." I was preaching in a church a couple of days ago and I asked the Pastor (their 30th anniversary) if he could find in The Bible a Scripture which says, "Come to Jesus and all your problems will be over?" He smiled at me and I smile back him, because both of us know there is no such scripture in The Bible. So if we make those statements we are actually being totally untrue. If we look at the life of our beloved Saviour, He was not spared any affliction. Neither were His disciples. In fact, not one of them died of old age. Every single one of them were martyred, or died a premature death, but the good news is the Lord will not leave us alone in our time of testing.
I found in my own life (I have walked with Jesus close on forty years) it has been in the times of my greatest turmoil and my greatest onslaught from the evil one, that that the Master has been the closest to me. I can honestly say that I would not exchange any of those hard times in my life for anything, because it's been in those times, in personal tragedy, when we had financial difficulties on the farm and when there's been problems with the weather elements, that the Master has been the closest to me.
Remember the old story of the footsteps in the sand. There were two sets of footsteps in the sand walking together, the Lord and his son. Then there was one set of footsteps when the going got really tough and the son said to Jesus, "But where were You when I needed You the most?" Remember Jesus' replied, "I was carrying you." The Lord carries us through our affliction.
That beautiful Scripture, Romans 8:28 is so true. If you do not turn your back on Jesus, but continue to follow Him unconditionally through thick and thin, He will honour you at the end. If you don't believe me, please read the entire Book of Job. A farmer, just like myself, who loved the Lord with a passion and yet he went through unbelievable fire, hardships and trials. He lost his farm, his animals, his family and he actually landed up sitting on top of an ash heap in town covered with boils from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. The townsfolk even mocked him. His own wife said, "Curse God and die." Yet Job said and I leave the Scripture for you, in Job 13:15 (NKJV), "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." May this be your prayer and my prayer as we go through tough times, because remember, "Tough times don't last, tough people do" - Robert Schuller.
So may God bless you as you continue to run the race for Jesus Christ. The finish line is closer than you think. And by the way at the end of Job's life, God blest Job with so much than in his former days.