I received the following in an email.
TESTING OF FAITH
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43: 2-3
Tragedy, testing, dark days in our life, God knows what we are facing. He is in touch with what is happening to us, and he is concerned.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
I feel as though I've gone through a time of unparalleled testing and that my faith has been refined as gold. It is very hard for me to imagine that I will ever doubt my salvation again or that Jesus is truly my Savior and Lord after what I've gone through . I'll not say that I'll never doubt, because Peter believed he'd never fall away, and he did. I've learned to stay clear of the words "always" and "never".
I love the verse above--Job 23:10. There's such confidence in it. I think I'd like to have a talk with Job when I get to heaven. There were so many things he said in the Book of Job that I could relate to. Such as, Job 3:24-25, "For sighing comes to me instead of food.... What I feared has come upon me. What I dreaded has happened to me." In the days just before my breakdown, I used to go around sighing all the time, and all of my life I had feared that I was going to go insane--came from watching too many scary shows about that very subject. When my panic attacks began, I thought I really was going insane. "What I feared had come upon me. What I dreaded has happened to me."
But my most favorite verses in Job are Job 36:15-16. Job didn't say them, though. Elihu did.
"But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
he speaks to them in their affliction.
He is wooing you from the jaws of distress
to a spacious place free from restriction,
to the comfort of your table laden with choice food."
Those verses gave me hope during panic attacks and during anxiety. Finally, I understood that God would deliver me, that He was speaking to me through it...calling me back home. The more I gave of myself to God, the more I relied on Him and His Word, the more freedom I found. The LORD wooed me from the isolation of depression, agoraphobia, and panic. Eventually, I saw the world outside my house as my "spacious place".
Then God did another amazing thing. He granted me freedom from the restriction of trying to be what I thought everyone else wanted me to be--freedom from my perceptions of how others perceived me. I was once so bound up in approval addiction. I was once afraid of not appearing perfect--as if I ever could. But God loved me and allowed me to feel loved by Him when I was in my most piteous state--as imperfect as imperfect could be. And He did not reject me. Praise God! If my Father in heaven loves me, what do I care about mere mortal beings not loving me.
I came out of my fiery trials with so many blessings! I never knew such blessings were possible. The enemy tried to convince me that I was a reject--that I had no hope--that I was never going to be different. I praise God that He set about to prove just how much of a child of God I truly am. I pray that anyone who does not know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour will cry out to Him, confess their sins, ask for forgiveness, and invite Him to come live in their heart before it's too late. I also pray that if anyone is a Christian but, like me a few years ago, was more of the world than of Christ, I pray that they would recommit themselves to Christ, start consecrating their minds by resisting the flesh and spending time with Jesus in His Word and in prayer. He is the Good Shepherd. His sheep do know His voice. And He will come to the rescue when no one else can. He is Faithful and True. He is the Great I AM! And He is ready to prove Satan a liar and a deceiver when he tries to convince you that you really belong to him. Jesus is my Knight in shining armor. And He's yours, too!