Summary: How does God deal with us during those times we feel we can't go on?
I want to talk this afternoon about ‘losing faith’. Sometimes, as we go through life, maybe even now, we’ll face a shaking of our faith, a testing so severe our faith is eclipsed, we feel we’re losing it! We feel that our struggles are too deep,
Our problems are too difficult, we’ve prayed but there’s no answer, it’s difficult to believe any more, you’re in pain, you’re overwhelmed, you feel alone- that there’s no way out! Let me tell you 1st, you’re not alone! Let me tell you secondly, you’re not the first person to feel like that!
Let’s look at Luke 22:31-34 ‘"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."’
Jesus told Peter ‘Peter, the devil has asked to sift you, he’s asked to test you, he’s demanded to shake your faith!’
Now Peter was a bold man, not afraid to stand up and speak his mind, and he was a man of faith. A man of genuine faith! He had spent 3 years with Jesus, he had seen water turned to wine, he had seen 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread feed 5000 men plus their wives and children- and collected 12 baskets of leftovers!
He had seen the sick healed, he had seen the possessed delivered, and he saw many other things no recorded in the Scriptures! But not only had he seen, but he’d experienced these things! It was Peter who climbed out of the boat and walked on water, he had climbed the mountain at the transfiguration and saw a changed Christ and Moses and Elijah!
And when asked it was Peter who confessed that Jesus was the Christ the Son of God, to which Jesus replied ‘"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’ Jesus was going to build the Church upon Peter’s faith!
So why would the devil want to test such a man? Why would the devil want to battle so great a faith? It was because his faith was strong! It was because his faith was true! It was because his faith was genuine that the devil wanted to try and break it!
Jesus said ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."’(Matt 17:20)
With faith, nothing is impossible! With faith fire can fall from heaven! With faith the seas can part! With faith the sun can stand still, walls come crumbling down! With faith you can walk through a furnace and not get burned, sleep with lions and not be eaten! With faith the sick are healed, the lame walk and those in bondage are set free!
The devil doesn’t bother with those who have no faith, he doesn’t need to waste his time testing those who don’t believe God- they are no threat to him or his kingdom! They’ll crumble soon enough!
But those with a genuine faith are different! Those with a real walk with God are a different story! They are a threat! They are a danger! And they need to be stopped! That’s why he came for Peter, that’s why he came for Job, and that’s why he’ll come for you and me!
But what happens if, during that testing we are overwhelmed? What happens if during that shaking we stumble, if our faith is eclipsed and we begin to lose it? I mean, it’s happened before!
Elijah, just after seeing fire fall from heaven, just after seeing the Baal religion crumble, just after witnessing the power of God, hears that jezebel has put a price on his head! That she will pay anyone who will kill him! What does he do? Does he stand and say ‘The God who sent the fire from heaven will protect me?’
No, he runs for his life! He gives up on his faith, he gives up on his hope, he gives up his ministry and then he cries out to God ‘God, kill me now! This is too much for me! Everything I have done has blown up in my face! I can’t do it anymore!’
Jeremiah, a prophet of God, a fearless preacher of holiness and repentance, a man who said ‘"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."’ (Jer 14:7-8)