“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lorddisciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12)
A few months ago, I rushed to complete my taxes right before the deadline. The closer I got to finishing; I had a feeling of discouragement creep over my spirit. As the “amount you owe” number continued to rise my discouragement turn into frustration. “I don’t get it, why do we owe so much money this year”? I began thinking “where is this money going to come from to repay the Government”? To add another blow to my already defeated spirit, I read the words “may we charge your credit card to file your taxes”? That was it, I had lost it. Not only did I not have the amount due for my taxes but at the very moment, I didn’t even have the $24.99 to file my taxes. My anger took over and I slammed my laptop and stormed off to bed. While I lay in the bed with my mind racing, I began yelling at God. I kept asking why; why do I always have to deal with financial issues? Why can’t you let me live a comfortable life without worrying about money ALL the time? I knew I was wrong for blaming God for my financial predicament and in an attempt to stop pointing the finger at God; I started reciting scriptures to myself. Needless to say, my heart wasn’t completely into it.
The next morning when I woke up, I still felt uneasy about being upset with God so I prayed for forgiveness. I accepted the fact that this was not God’s fault and acknowledged that I had forgotten who was in control of the situation. Afterward, I opened my bible hoping for some encouragement to ease my mind. The first verse that I read was James 1:12 that states “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him”. However, I didn’t receive the inspiration I was looking for. I could hear the Lord’s calm, small voice saying to me that I had failed the testing of my faith. Instead of standing on God’s promises, I was leaning on my own understanding. I had lost my hope. Through His word, the Lord revealed to me how and why I missed an opportunity to exercise my faith in Him.
- First, God showed me how I failed. I failed because I did not truly believe that He would work out my financial problems. James 1:6, 8 says “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind…8Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do”. Let me just say, Ouch! Reading those verses hurt because in my mind I was a person who believed God could do all things. In this situation, I was a person who knewGod could fix the problem but didn’t believe He would do it for me. Typically, I would say a prayer for whatever I needed God to do, then I would imagine how God should fix the problem and when it didn’t happen the way I thought it should have I would get frustrated. I lost sight of His word that says “And we know that in all things God works for the good for those who love him” (Romans 8:28). God had not forgotten me or what I was going through, I just needed to believe in His promises.
- Lastly, He showed me why I had failed my faith test and it was because I wasn’t spiritually mature. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4). This was another hard verse for me to read. The Holy Spirit exposed another weakness in my walk with Christ, which is lacking spiritual maturity. In Hebrews 6:1, the Word tells us that we should “move beyond the elementary things of Christ and be taken forward to maturity“. The verses that follow provide the foundational disciplines we are introduced to when we first submit our lives to Christ. One of those disciplines is having faith in God. Essentially, if we don’t have the foundational discipline of having faith it is not possible to gain spiritual maturity. We must persevere through hardships, with Faith, so that we may become mature and more like Christ.
I am thankful for God’s word and his Holy Spirit that corrects me when I am wrong because I know that in my correction He is building my character in Christ.