by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis
On the day of your birth several years ago, God designed a plan of preparation for you. He was there when they put cake in your face on your first birthday. He was on the road with you taking your driving test. He was even there with you when you thought you were old enough to take your first drink. Jesus was there when you fell in love for the first time. He has been there and will always be there. And although it seems like sometimes you can’t find Him, or you feel like He is not showing up on your behalf, always remember that He shall not tell a lie, and every step you take, good or bad, He is there in the midst of it all.
Phase 1: Born
The Bible speaks of Jesus talking to Nicodemus explaining what it means to be a born again believer. Jesus answers, “Very, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit,” (John 3:5).
If you are not a believer and you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, say this simple prayer: “God, I know that I have sinned against you. But, I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my whole heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and according to His Word, right now I am saved in Jesus name. Amen.”
Now that you’ve gained and recognized your faith in Jesus Christ, you’ve also developed a direct and personal relationship with God, and you’ve had a chance to experience His grace and mercy on your life.
Phase 2: Growth
One of the greatest myths ever expressed is this — as a believer, I won’t experience hardships. That is a complete lie! As a believer, you will experience some of the toughest hardships there are. Not because God is picking on you, but because He is grooming what’s on the inside of you. A person who has never run a race can’t decide to compete in the Olympics tomorrow. One will need to train for numerous races before he has enough stamina to compete in that type of race. The same principle applies to faith; if you’ve never had to show endurance, then you’ll never know how much you have. The Bible says in Matthew 17:20, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
When your loved one went to be with the Lord, He [Jesus] was there to comfort you. When you were laid off and didn’t know how you were going to pay your bills, He was a provider. When your child got into trouble, when your spouse started working on your last nerve, when the business deal fell through and the stock market crashed and you lost terribly, God was right there in the midst of it all, talking to you, keeping you calm, preparing you to endure the remainder of the race. Your faith grows your endurance. God’s Word is your coach and ultimate trainer. And guess what, you eventually will win the race!
Phase 3: Power
You’ve lost a lot and have now entered into a dark tempest of doubt like nothing you’ve experienced before. You have clouded judgments, and you’re seeking various mechanisms for your divine intervention. You guess that God still loves you, but you wonder why He is allowing this to happen to you and others around you. You’re surrounded by the foul odors of devastation, depression and denial.
“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith,” (Hebrews 11:7).
Are you hoping for a miracle, or are you praying for one? There is a difference. Remember Noah and his faith? Take the limits off of God. Open the door for him to work. Noah risked everything to build the ark when it wasn’t even raining yet. So in faith, see the things that you want to change and pray without ceasing about them. You need to seize it before you see it – in other words, seize the moment by faith before you see the moment in faith.
If you sit and think about the different storms in your life, you’ll quickly realize that being born again, growing in your faith, and the power of faith are the phases that God uses to increase your endurance, and ultimately to prepare you for what’s to come.