They learned to count it all joy when they fell into various trials, knowing that the testing of their faith produced patience.
In his book, God’s Hostage, Andrew Brunson tells of his ordeal of being arrested in Turkey and imprisoned in high-security prisons for 735 days on false trumped-up charges of terrorism and espionage. During his time in prison, Andrew, a Christian missionary to Turkey, suffered not only the effects of incarceration but also the persistent question, “Why has God allowed this to happen to me?”
Andrew suffered a crisis of faith, slumping into severe depression with suicidal ambitions. Where was God? Why was he not being proven innocent, as he was? Towards the end of his book, after relaying his fears and anxieties, Andrew Brunson describes how he came to a place of surrender, learning to trust God with patient endurance.
God’s word exhorts us to lay aside every weight and sin which so easily ensnares us and run with endurance the race that is set before us. Andrew’s race was not a smooth well controlled track sprint, his race was an enduring cross-country marathon, thwart by pain-inflicting obstacles and barriers. In his book he is blatantly honest about his weakness and fear, yet, by the grace of God (and remember, grace is God’s doing), he endured and immerged with stronger faith than when he began his race.
For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promiseHebrews 10:36
Whatever race you face today, whatever barriers or challenges to your faith you may be enduring, be encouraged to stand strong, attired in the whole armour of God. Apostle Paul writes how he was imprisoned for his faith yet he asks the church to pray for him that he may continue to boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel for which he was in chains. He, like Andrew Brunson, learned to count it all joy when he fell into various trials, knowing that the testing of his faith produced patience.
God-tracking is patiently enduring hard times.
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This post is part of Dudley’s weekly GodTracker devotional series. You can also listen to his GodTracker podcast.