I recall years ago riding off-road in an old Ford Bronco with a friend.
My friend had one of those “floating ball” magnetic compasses mounted on top of his dash board. Instead of an arrow, this type compass has a ball suspended in fluid inside a crystal ball.
On the floating ball are markings which indicate all four cardinal directions, plus all 360 degrees. The use of a floating ball instead of a metallic arrow means the compass can continue to function while the vehicle pitches and yaws.
While the rough terrain bounced us around, the floating ball spun in all directions. When we needed to figure out our direction we would have to stop. That way the little ball could recover a bit.
But, invariably, the little floating ball would respond to the pull of the earth’s magnetic field. It always returned to magnetic north. No matter how shaken, it would always return to North.
I thought about this yesterday as I read Psalm 73 of the Bible. In this particular Scripture, a man named Asaph describes his brutal test of faith and how his faith became shaken.
You see, Asaph beheld the success and prosperity of the wicked. To his own eyes it appeared that this was a terrible injustice. It seemed that the wicked were always prevailing over the righteous. That the godly people of the earth were always suffering trials and adversities. The wicked – because of their wealth – were escaping them.
Don’t rush to judgment or jump to a rash conclusion. Give God time to vindicate His mysterious ways in your life.
This “injustice” upset Asaph. He concluded, “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence.” -Psalm 73:13 (NKJV)
Yet Asaph did not go public about his disgust and his doubts. He kept them to himself. You see, Asaph still had a sneaky suspicion that he didn’t yet have all the facts. That maybe he was jumping to a hasty conclusion. Asaph had a hunch that he needed to give God time before he cast away his faith. God would vindicate His own mysterious ways.
“If I had said, “I will speak thus,” behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.” -Psalm 73:15 (NKJV)
So Asaph went into the sanctuary of the temple to pray and ask God for insight. And God spoke to Asaph’s heart. He revealed that the rewards for obedience and punishments for disobedience don’t come to us in this life. But rather in the life to come, when God will recompense all. Asaph realized that having God’s nearness and love in his life was worth more than the wealth of the wicked.
In the end, Asaph’s faith recovered and returned to God. Asaph concluded, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73: 25-26 (NKJV)
Maybe you feel a little like Asaph. Has your faith been shaken? Is it like the floating ball of that compass? Are you confused? Maybe to the point that you don’t know what to believe in? But please don’t rush to judgment or jump to a rash conclusion. Give God time to vindicate His mysterious ways in your life. And give yourself time to recover. Like that badly shaken compass that always returned to magnetic north, your faith will return to God – again and again.
Even when it seems to have died altogether, God will revive your faith to be stronger than before.
Remember Jesus’ words to Simon Peter? Just hours before Peter denied Him, Lord Jesus said:
“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” -Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)
Peter survived his ordeal, and his faith became stronger than before. God will also keep your faith. Even when it seems to have died altogether, God will revive your faith to be stronger than before. He will focus it once again on Himself.
Dear Father in heaven, please restore, renew, and preserve my faith in You. According to Your promise, keep me from falling and present me blameless and joyful before Your glorious presence in heaven. Amen.