Published 12:40 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2021

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My pastor’s wife was sneaky recently. She planned a getaway for the two of them to celebrate their anniversary. I was one of a handful of people who knew ahead of time since it meant the pastor would have to miss Sunday service. I was honored to have the opportunity to speak in his place. My pastor was completely surprised, and I hear they had a relaxing time away.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

I had lots of different ideas floating around my head about what I should share in my message. It was difficult to quiet myself to hear from heaven about which way I needed to go. It took several quiet mornings on the porch to make sure I was hearing what was on the Father’s heart. God wants to speak to us; we just have to get quiet before His throne.

A couple of weeks ago, the adult Sunday school teacher asked if I would teach her class one Sunday morning. I taught the class about how God tests us. I made it abundantly clear that he does not tempt us, because God is good and He would never tempt us. But God does test us, or allow us to be tested.

Joseph, the son of Jacob, faced many tests in his life. His brothers sold him into slavery, so it would have been very easy for him to be angry and bitter. After doing everything right, he was accused of sexual misconduct and put in a dungeon. Depression and anxiety would easily be his friends in such a place. There were certainly some tough days in Joseph’s life, and plenty of questions about where God was in the midst of all that. Tests!

I firmly believe that God works in unexpected ways. He allows us to face temptations because he promises that He will provide a way of escape. He allows us to face tests because He has sent what we need to get through the tests. Sometimes we don’t acquire what He provides, so we fail our tests. That means we have to go back and learn the lessons we didn’t get along the way.

Last Sunday I talked with our congregation about God allowing things to happen. When we look at the difficulties and the tragedies in the world around us, it’s easy to wonder why God doesn’t step in. We need to stop and remember one critical thing: God is good and the devil is bad. When tragic events occur like the condo collapsing in Miami or COVID, God is not the author of those events. God is not evil and cannot do evil things.

When God allows trials and difficulties to come into our lives, we have to keep the following things in mind: God has faith in us, and He provides a way for us to get through it. I am not saying there won’t be bad days. God sets the limits of how much can come our way. I sometimes think that God has way too much faith in me. But I try to keep reminding myself that God is in control and that He will see me through.

When we find ourselves in the middle of challenging times, we have to remember that God allowed it to stir our faith, not shake it. We will, with His help, get through to the other side. We have to do our part, which includes both standing and fighting. Don’t forget to call your friends to get them praying. Prayer is a powerful weapon when we are struggling.

We have to take steps of faith even if we can only move a few inches. We have to remind ourselves when we feel like God isn’t doing anything, that He is working behind the scenes to work everything out in our favor. While it might feel like He is waiting way too long, He is never too late. Mary and Martha thought Jesus was too late for their brother Lazarus, but they didn’t understand God’s plan.

No matter how dark it might feel, we must keep the flame of hope alive. We never give up. God is always for us and never against us. We must keep trusting, believing, hoping and praying. The enemy may knock us down, but God will help us back up.

I want to encourage you if you find yourself in the middle of a difficult time. Help is on the way. Nothing is impossible with God. You serve a risen savior and the power of that resurrection lives inside you. God will appear on the scene and circumstances will work out in your favor. We serve a good, loving, Heavenly Father who has His eye on you and your situation. Stir your faith and trust Him.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or