We aren’t promised a life of perfection. In fact, we are told we will be tested, put through trial and even persecuted. What’s more, the Lord already knows where and when these times will occur in our measure of time and yet, not once does He ever imply that we have failed. Like He encourages Simon Peter, Jesus encourages us to look beyond the times we seem to have so poorly missed the mark and instead see the bigger picture. So long as your faith has not disappeared, it does not matter how poorly you responded to the test. Tests are about measuring growth, they are not a predictor of success. What matters most is that you keep your faith. So long as your faith has not failed, then you have not failed, no matter the dismal look of the outcome. And, we have this assurance from the One who sits on the throne at the right hand of our Father, He is praying for us that our faith will not fail. Beloved, let this be a great encouragement to you that no matter what you are going through the Lord is your strength. He is fully behind you and no matter how low you may have to go, He has exalted you higher that your faith should prevail. “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). It is not a question of “if” but a matter of “when” your faith will be challenged, and Jesus assures us that His strength is for us that it will not fail, and not just this, but when it doesn’t, we WILL find ourselves once more face to face with Him. That encounter is also only a matter of “when”.
What does this mean except that our Lord has faith in you! That WHEN you have returned to Him, WHEN you have found yourself made low and realized He is with you and your faith did not fail, now you have a charge to do as He did for you: strengthen those around you by reminding them in Whom their faith comes from. The One who’s strength is our strength.
This is our greatest call, our greatest command as faith-filled followers of Christ: to love and encourage one another, so that in our walk through the test, trials and persecutions of this world, we might all be strengthened in Christ to keep our faith even WHEN all else fails us.
Let our focus then not be on the test and the trials of which we are assured, but rather let us focus on returning quickly to Him and attaining to the more important task at hand: our Lord’s command to strengthen and love each other.
“Simon, Simon, But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:32