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A close friend placed a book she loved reading into my hands a few weekends back. Beautifully crafted verses nestled in my mind–slowing down my world so God might just speak in new ways. In turning the pages last week, the words He brought to mind often after considering the Biblical accounts of Tamar, Rahab, and Ester, were–testing and exercising faith.

Now, it’s a theme I cannot ignore.

What might God be saying? Where has he been testing me or exercising my faith? Where have I witnessed Him testing and exercising His people? Well, there just may be a few possibilities. Over the last few years in particular, we as God’s people have been offered opportunities to make plenty of individual choices–declaring what we believe in our current culture. We’ve been offered a plethora of tests to our belief systems and to our convictions. Yes, some of us are just trudging along day by day–and have accepted the world as it is and some of us have stood alone for what’s right–rejecting popular ideas that the world has wanted to feed us. Many still stand unified and their unity has displayed itself in significant ways. Retailers, coffee shops, friends, nations, and the globe have been offered a front row viewing at what happens when people of faith stand–or kneel intertwined and bound in unity, belief, faith, and prayer.

At this specific time in history, could God be testing and exercising His people?

Is He testing or exercising us to stand for what remains right and true in our grey world? Could God be pushing us to firm up our faith? Could He be longing to reveal our specific purpose in life with the gifts He’s given us, at such a time as this? We’ve read about the plans He carried out for His people in Biblical history, but are we still looking for His hand at work in our lives–today? Yes, today. Is God working in our life today? To understand His mission for our lives, I believe in spite of the abundant noise and distraction, we must humbly pray for God to help us see what He wants us to see now. Let’s pray for the Church–that sight will replace blindness, love will replace apathy, knowledge and wisdom will replace ignorance, diligence will replace laziness, conviction will replace numbness, belief will replace all unbelief, unity will replace division, and an eternal vision will replace an earthly one.

Standing for what’s right isn’t always easy, and standing alone may feel scary–but there are those in Biblical history that did this very thing because their eyes were fixed not on what they could see but on what they couldn’t yet see–what they hoped for. I believe it’s time for us to not just conform to the pattern of this world or tradition but willingly allow God to refresh and transform each of us–to go where God leads, to exercise our faith, to test what we say we believe, and bless our intimacy with Him like never before.

May God forgive, prepare, and use His people for such a time as this for His glory.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18