I’ve heard people say this a lot and even though I know how much grief and trouble he has put people through, I’ve never taken time to really acknowledge what the phrase meant until now. This past year I’ve been through two major trials and they both came during and immediately after my conversion. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but now I realise how much the Devil tries to get us to renounce God, to compromise our faith and turn a blind eye to our beliefs.
What’s worse; he knows our weaknesses. I’ll refer you to my first trial, which involves someone at my previous university. I’m a feminist by nature and throughout my teenage years I was put off by the idea of marriage and relationships in general. I didn’t get into any; thought they weren’t worth all the fuss that I’d seen my friends and family go through. But then a guy stepped into my life and I completely re-evaluated my standpoint. He was artistic, he wrote poems about me, he was sweet and kind and he called me something that no one’s called me before.
He called me a woman.
This may seem like a really small thing, but for me, who’s been treated like a child more as I get older (how does that work?) it meant the world to me. I felt respected, like a real independent, free-thinking woman. I had never thought of myself as one before (I know it sounds weird). He saw me in a light that few people have seen me in.
But this guy was an atheist. And a lot of the time, I found myself preaching to him. It proved frustrating for both of us, I think. I’m sure he got bored of me harping on about God all the time; I felt hurt that he found “nothing of merit” in religion. We’re still friends, thankfully, and we write each other letters. I keep him in my prayers because he’s really a good guy, but I knew that going out with him wouldn’t work if I was one thing and he was another. It was a hard decision because I very nearly compromised my faith, but when I looked back in hindsight, I was able to see things for what they were. I was very, very tempted.
The second trial really, really pains me to think about. It’s still ongoing and has more or less split my family in two. The only practising Christians in the family are my dad and me, and we’re Sabbath keepers to boot. We’ve both been called to choose between a family member and the Sabbath–God‘s Sabbath. We both decided we’d choose God. There’s also a Catholic involved in this, which makes it worse because the changing of the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first day (Sunday) was a Catholic practice, so this family member of mine is being influenced by a lot of … unfortunate viewpoints. This has been the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make for God. I questioned myself a lot. Surely God doesn’t want me to upset my family? Should I just pretend I’m not a Seventh Day Adventist for a day and pray for forgiveness afterwards? This text kept coming back to me:
37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
That’s from Matthew 10. The other text that has kept me going these past few months has been 1 Corinthians 10:13 :
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
I have people praying for this situation. I know God can make a way, whatever happens. I have to remember to be faithful to Him, even if I have to go against family. In the end, my family can’t save me: that’s Jesus’ job.
The Devil is a Liar, but God is faithful.