There are two women, seniors, at work who are similar in age and are both dealing with similar disease processes - that of respiratory deterioration. One of these women is still mobile in a wheelchair, the other is bedridden due to other maladies. They struggle for air and therefore, they both have a certain amount of confusion with the decrease in oxygen.
The bedridden lady works hard to accomplish everyday tasks, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. She has a doting son and daughter-in-law who visit daily to read to her, decorate her room, do her nails or sometimes just to kiss her goodnight. This lady experiences alot of discomfort when moving around, but never fails to thank her caregivers after each time her care is completed.
The woman in the wheelchair spends most of her days and nights yelling (yelling!) and complaining. She complains that she doesn't get enough help, but complains about the help she does get. During the night, she screams because she doesn't want to be alone, but when staff do attend to her room she screams at them. She never had children, so her neices and nephews are assigned as her next of kin - I have never seen any of them come to visit.
There is one more similarity to mention. They both claim the title 'christian'.
Now, it isn't my place to say I know the heart of these women. Obviously the fruit of the Spirit can be seen much greater in the first lady, but it would be too bold to state that the second isn't actually saved. So, taking it as a given that they are both indeed saved...what is the difference?
Can a born-again Christian, saved by grace, fall away from faith to the point that their salvation is unrecognizable? Can a heart with Christ indwelling be overwhelmed by a tormented mind? I believe the answer is yes.
Neither give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:27
Once Satan finds a 'crack' in our faith, he grabs hold and doesn't let go. He actively seeks out these 'cracks' - do we have a tendency to worry, he'll encourage your worry; do we have any type of idol in our lives, he'll encourage us to turn toward that idol more and more often. Most often it can come down to our level of trust in God. How many of us know this Psalm:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5&6
However, how many of us really embrace the promise in these words? Trust with ALL thine heart - in ALL thy ways acknowledge him. What are ALL our ways?
- the way we live out our daily life,
- the way we behave as women, wives, daughters,
- the way we serve in our local church,
- the way we choose our spouses,
- the way we raise our children,
- the way we manage our money.
And on and on. There isn't a single moment of our lives that does not fit into this Psalm. So I ask the question...do I trust Him to:
- lead my husband without my help?
- give me the strength I need to teach my child at home?
- protect my family when trials come without having to give up on convictions?
- provide for all my needs when I give my tithe (even when money is tight)?
- raise up a Godly man for my daughter as I teach her that purity is His will for her life?
Look at when Job had lost everything, when his friends were discouraging, when his wife told him to put an end to his life of misery, when he was blistered and broke and alone in this world...he trusted.
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him... Job 13:18
That is where I see the bedridden woman from the my beginning story. She is accepting her trials and trusting God. She is living her faith before everyone to see. Am I there yet? No. But I'm not in that situation yet, either. For each trial I face, my faith strengthens as I see God working to bring me through. There will always be more trials, and He will undoubtedly provide the faith I need for them - that's the promise part of the Psalm, ...and he shall direct [my] paths.
How much faith is enough? The exact amount that He has built into me to this point in my life.
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:7-9