The call to worship the Lord in spite of overwhelming and vicious circumstances is a glorious and constant theme in Scripture.
When Job lost all 10 of his children, and when his entire flocks and herds and every servant except one in his employ was killed during one horrible, no-good, very bad day, this is what the Holy Spirit has recorded was Job's response:
"Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshipped" (Job 1:20).
He didn't whine and he didn't complain. Job, the ordinary man who loved his family deeply, fell to the ground and he worshipped.
When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, they worshiped in the blazing fire with that infamous "fourth man." King Nebuchadnezzar was astounded as he watched four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire (Dan. 3:23-26)! Jesus shows up when a man or a woman chooses to stand for righteousness and trust Him in the most difficult of times.
The Bible states when Daniel spent the night in a den with ravenous and aggressive lions: "So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of harm was found on him, because he believed in his God" (Dan. 6:23).
When Esther was threatened with the mass murders of her entire race, she fasted and prayed (Esth. 4:16).
When Abraham was tested by the lack of a son, the Bible states that he trusted God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6)
When Hannah walked through the barren ground of infertility, she prayed to the Lord of Hosts (1 Sam. 1:11).
Every person whom God used in the Old Testament was first asked to pass a test of faith. The only way to pass a test a faith is with worship and prayer. The way to excel in difficult circumstances is by choosing to fast and to believe the promises of God. I can assure you that we all must pass a test or two while living this side of heaven. The question concerning every test that a believer must take is this one, "Will you pass this particular test, or will you need to take it again?"
If you feel you have failed a faith test, let me assure you, there will be another one coming your way. Tests refine us, strengthen us and promote us. Every test that you are required to take in God's Kingdom is an open-Book test. When you open your Bible, you are given the strategy of how to pass with flying colors every fiery furnace and every den of lions that stands in your future.
The call to rejoice even during the most trying moments of life echoes through the centuries and is reiterated by Peter, the rock upon whom Jesus built his church:
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now, if for a little while, you have had to suffer various trials, in order that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tried by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom, having not seen, you love; and in whom, though you do not see Him now, you believe and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Will you do it? Will you sing when your world is imploding? Will you worship when your circumstances smack of disappointment and heartbreak? Will you greatly rejoice even when you walk through the furnace of great affliction?
Will you pass the test? It's an open-Book assignment!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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