Has the Lord ever tested your faith? When I had been married seven years, I felt the Lord calling me into full time ministry. In addition, we had three small children five years old and younger. This change meant my wife and I had to quit good jobs. Also, we had to sell our home and move 300 miles away for me to go to school. Our parents were not happy with this decision, but we went forward in faith. How would the Lord provide? Would I be able to get through a very difficult program and graduate? Could I be a pastor? In spite of all those thoughts we moved forward.
For his faithful words to King Zedekiah and to his officials, the prophet Jeremiah was punished by being lowered into a cistern. The words Jeremiah had for them were not what they wanted to hear. The cistern Jeremiah was lowered into was filled with mud at the bottom. Place yourself into the sandals of Jeremiah. You did what the Lord told you to do and now you are inside a dark cistern standing in cold mud. Jeremiah may have been asking himself. How long will I be down here? Will I die here? How will I sleep? Will I be given any food? Lord why? If I was Jeremiah, I would have been very discouraged.
James 1:2-4 gives us insight on the Lord testing our faith. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 
In the bottom of the cistern Jeremiah’s faith was being tested. He would later be retrieved out of the cistern when he was very cold and hungry. Jeremiah would continue to be faithful throughout his life. His faith grew stronger in the cistern instead of weaker. His reliance on God continued to propel him forward during his ministry.
How has the Lord tested your faith? What did He teach you? What did you learn? How did that shape your life moving forward?
Maybe you are being tested right now and the Lord wants to give you assurance and encouragement. God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  Psalm 46:1.
What did I learn by stepping out in faith to become a pastor? The Lord was faithful to my wife and our three children. Being obedient led to great blessings, although it has not been easy. The Lord is with us and He is also with you. Rejoice in the Lord!
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