There are stages to belief.
We perceive a thing in our spirit and hope it to be true.
Then we look into the matter some more; we talk about it and pray about it.
Then God speaks to us in some way about it and if we’re in tune with him, our belief deepens.
That’s revelation. A personal God who is involved in our lives is going to speak and when he does, we’ll meet him in that place through our faith.
But then comes that hard in-between time. God hasn’t answered your prayer and everything that comes your way until he does feels like a test. Maybe that’s the contradiction Cooke was referring to – God says he’s going to do something, but sends a test instead. And if you don’t know what God is doing, it is the most awful thing.
Joseph gets a dream that he’d rule over his brothers. He shares it. Then his brothers try to kill him and he’s sold into slavery and later goes to jail. It’s a season of testing. At each stage he has the opportunity to ask God “Why?” Why the betrayal? Why a pit? Why slavery? Why a jail? But each of these circumstances is a test, a seeming contradiction to what God promised in his dream. Will he believe the word of God or will he look at circumstances?
You’re nothing in the kingdom unless you’ve been betrayed. It’s absolutely essential that you’ve been wounded in the ministry. We need to be “wounded in the house of our friends.” We need to experience the fellowship of his sufferings.
Why? Because our faith is deepened as the rug is pulled out from under us and all we have left is God. When all other sources of provision have disappeared and God alone remains in our corner, we’re forced to trust him more. Our relationship with him grows.
We feel fellowship with him most keenly when we’re being tested, when we’re suffering.
Are you in a season of testing? The test is there for a reason. God knows it’s rough from the inside out. Jesus started his ministry being tested and ended his life that way. I like the promise he gave us, “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Cor. 10:13