Test of faith

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago - Visaya - The Freeman

Success stories of people overcoming obstacles that seemed insurmountable have been told to us. It is practically impossible to explain why one has surmounted a difficulty that human capacity cannot overcome, and it goes well beyond physical dexterity and mental fortitude.

God refines us by putting tests of faith before us for his glory. Has your faith ever been tested? Have you ever wondered why? Tests of faith come to develop our character. They drive us to a better commitment and a different level of obedience to God. They drive us to pray differently, fervently. They build our trust in him.

The events building up to the Sinulog have revealed themselves to be forces beyond human comprehension. Consider the Walk with Mary, where thousands of Santo Niño devotees have shown the Holy Child their unbridled affection. They persisted in their faith-filled stroll despite the rain. What causes this, then?

Nothing could deter the faithful during the Novena masses held at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and the Traslacion despite the rain and chilly winds. Beyond physical stamina, this entails the ability to offer and express gratitude truly a victory of faith over tribulation.

Trusting God and placing our trust in him rather than in ourselves is the key to passing the test of faith. In the midst of our trials, if we lean on him, he will support us. Testing our faith is nothing to be scared of since God will provide us with everything we need to remain steadfast.

To be fair, everyone has sin, even the most righteous. To conclude from this that a Christian must be sinless would be misleading. Such a claim would undermine the cross's authority and worth. But there is a sign that heresy is rampant when immorality persists in a claimed Christian's life. Perhaps, despite one's ardent commitment to religious beliefs, one actually does not even know God.

Sin is easily recognized by the marks it leaves behind, much like footprints in the snow. It is most likely sin, not holiness that is the motivating factor when one's life, activities, and behaviors leave a trail of hatred, conflict, hostility, bitterness, discouragement, or fury. Many so-called Christians today have a distorted understanding of the God we claim to worship.

God sometimes allows us to experience difficult circumstances in order to primarily test our faith. We must resist giving up in despair during such moments. When our souls are fainting inside us, we must turn to the Lord and entirely trust him, just like Jonah did in the belly of the big fish.

What can we do when we are about to faint physically? We can't do anything! In our weakness we just fall upon the shoulders of some strong loved one, lean hard, and rest until our strength returns. The same is true when we are tempted to faint under adversity. The Lord's message to us is "Be still, and know that I am God. We can only lie still in God's arms like a little child and trust.” And that is all the Heavenly Father asks of us when we grow weary in the fierce fires of affliction.

Jesus is our unmoving rock, our cornerstone, our lover, our savior, and the source of all the abundance we experience in life. He is also our everlasting hope, our ever-ready aid, and our ever-clear way. He is greater than all of the fires we encounter in life.

Happy Fiesta! Viva Pit Señor Santo Niño!

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