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Over the last two years, Shannon and I have never in our lives felt the suffering of so much loss.  It’s not that we haven’t suffered loss in the past, we have, it’s just that nothing we have faced in the last twenty-six years of serving Christ seems to compare to what we have faced in the last two. 

I’ve spoken to so many good people who have said that this past year was one of the most difficult times of their lives.  These people are men and women of God who I consider to be giants of the faith.  Some have made it through without destroying themselves, their family, and those closest to them, while others seem to have crumbled under the pressure of darkness and have left a ruin of hurt.

So I ask, what’s the difference?  How is it that two people of faith can face the same darkness, and yet only one seems to make it out without suffering from catastrophic damage?  Both faced the same dark valley, but only one is able to make it out with their life and relationships still in tact. 

I believe that the answer is found in the quality of a man’s faith.  Paul told the church in Corinth, “Fire will test the quality of each person’s work.”  We should not be surprised when a fiery trial has fallen on us, because Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.”  Our trial is meant to:

  1. Test and refine our faith. 
  2. Expose the imperfections.
  3. Remove the dross (imperfections) so that what remains is pure gold.  

If you feel you are walking through a terrible time of loss it is meant to sharpen your faith’s focus, and I believe that there is a miracle waiting for you on the other side of that dark valley.  But to get to it, you will have to walk through your trial by faith and not by sight. 

Unshakeable faith is focused faith.  It is faith that is focused on Him who has promised to see you through to the other side.

“David said it all:
I saw God before me for all time.
   Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side.
I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic;
    I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.
I know you’ll never dump me in Hades;
    I’ll never even smell the stench of death.
You’ve got my feet on the life-path,
    with your face shining sun-joy all around.”
Acts 2:25-26 (The Message) 

I want to leave you with this final thought.  It’s what old evangelist,  R. W. Sachambach, would say when he would close his broadcast:

“You don’t have any trouble, all you need is faith in God.”

Pray this with me today…

Anoint my eyes so that I can see you always before me.  Strengthen my eyes so that no distraction or debris thrown by a whirlwind of life will ever cloud my vision.  May I never blink or shut my eyes on You.  Fix my face on you so that I never break eye contact with you.  Then my heart will be glad and my soul will be unshaken.  I will set my tent in the land of hope.  I will never be left in this present hell, nor will its stench ever stick on me.  I am going to emerge smelling like roses because you’ve got my feet on the life-path.  Your face is shining joy all around.

Love you all,

Pastor Bobby Richard