Being Tested

image by E. Rowe in Canva

We are now in the middle of Lent. For forty days and forty nights, Jesus Christ was tempted in the desert by the devil. As we know he was offered a human’s “heart desires”—being offered everything a human could want on earth, power, fame, and wealth. All Jesus had to do was deny God and turn away from the Heavenly Father. I have spent a lot of time in Lent thinking about this.

When I was just a little girl, old enough to walk, I was taken to church every Sunday, and on Sunday afternoon I attended Sunday School. My parents were devout Christians who practised their religion by saying prayers, going to church and living a life trying to model themselves after Jesus Christ—trying to be kind, loving, understanding, charitable—and they passed this on to their children.

As a teenager I volunteered to be a Sunday School teacher and my brothers were all servers on the altar. We were expected to go to church, even when we were out late on a Saturday night. We were expected to not complain about going to church or kick up a fuss when we were awakened early to get ready for church. We didn’t have the option to “choose” not to go when we lived at home, and we also knew as my parents’ children that the issue of church wasn’t a choice. It was in the same category as going to school and obeying our parents—going to church was an expectation in our household. 

As a young adult, I got my first job and then bought my first house. I was on my own and away from my parents, but I wasn’t away from the church. I continued to volunteer for church activities because Jesus Christ was a part of my life and not just something I did to please my parents. I believed, at that time, that because we all believed, God protected us and kept us all safe here on earth. In 2010, however, something changed and for the first time in my life, I had a crisis of faith. Suddenly, without warning, my older brother died.

For the first time in my life, my faith was tested. 

I was so angry with God! My brother was a good Christian! He was a great father! He was a great teacher! A great friend! A great brother! Of all the people in the world why take him? One of the good guys who worked for Jesus Christ and did his best to live a good Christian life. For the first time in my life, I felt “let down” by God. My prayers to him obviously weren’t listened to or answered. My prayers to keep all my family members safe from harm had gone completely ignored! Everything my family did for God, and he “took” my brother!!

For three months I avoided the church. I found every excuse in the book not to be able to go to church or do my volunteer activities. Then I realized I had to decide: was I going to throw away everything I believed about Jesus Christ because of my grief? 

Jesus knew the devil was tempting him in the desert and he knew that he was going to be crucified on the cross when those forty days and nights were over. He knew he was going to make the ultimate sacrifice for all humanity so that until his coming again, all believers would be safe in the knowledge that we would spend eternity in heaven with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. 

Our lives may not work out the way we would like them to but because Jesus was tested and died for us, we are assured of a blessed afterlife in glory. One day I will see all my loved ones again and through Jesus’ sacrifice, I know that is true!

God bless you all.

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