An Opportunity to Test-Drive Your Faith
By Jennifer Kennedy DeanIn the praying life, God schedules waiting periods. Count on it. But waiting on God can be the most difficult, perhaps confusing part of the prayer process. It is during the waiting times that many people drop out of the school of prayer. Not receiving their answers as they expected, many conclude that prayer doesn’t work—at least not for them. While the waiting time is the most difficult part of the process, it is also the most important. Waiting gives God the opportunity to redefine our desires and align our purpose and vision with His. What appears from the earth-perspective to be a delay on God’s part is really the time when God is working in the spiritual realm, beyond our senses. “Faith is being . . . certain of what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). During the waiting time, we are operating by faith.
Putting Faith to the TestPrayer has an immediate impact. The instant a thought is turned toward God, no matter how unformed or inarticulate the thought, it creates a stir in the heavenly realms. Unless we understand what is happening in the spiritual realm, we may think that prayer is having no effect. What does Scripture tell us God is doing when it looks to us like He’s delaying? Do you believe that God has a good and productive purpose for building waiting periods into your life? Recall James 1:2–4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” When God brings waiting periods into your life it is for only one reason: so that you can test-drive your faith. If I were planning to buy a car, I could research my purchase and decide what car I wanted—what make and model, what color, what add-on features. I could know everything about the car I want except how it handles. Not until I get behind the wheel and drive it for myself will I know the feel of the car. I won’t make my final purchase until I’ve handled the car myself—until I’ve test-driven it. It’s the same way with your faith. You can study faith. You can memorize verses about faith. You can learn slick, pithy definitions about faith. But until you have the opportunity to test-drive your own faith, you will never know how it handles.
Proving Our FaithJames says that God “tests” our faith. Does that mean He puts it to the test so that He can see how much faith you have? Or does He put it to the test so that you can see how faith operates? The word test really means to prove. God knows everything about you and everything that’s in your heart. In fact, He knows it better than you do. He doesn’t have to devise a test that will tell Him about your faith. He is proving your faith to you! When God allows you to test-drive your faith over and over again, you learn how to operate in faith with confidence. You become a mature and seasoned faith-walker. The person with mature faith is steady and tenacious. He has what James calls perseverance, the ability to go the distance. What is it that you are waiting for? What is your proving ground right now? Do you believe that God has the power to change your circumstances and end your wait right now? Do you believe that God loves you and wants only your highest good and deepest happiness?
- If God has the power to change your circumstances right now
- If God loves you and wants your highest good
- If the circumstances are still in place
- Then what is your conclusion, based on truth?