Keeping the Faith During Good Times

good timesVery few people enjoy hardships. As a matter of fact, we do all that we can to avoid them. We purchase insurance policies so that when difficult times come, the losses we suffer won’t be as bad. We also avoid unnecessary risks because they may lead to unnecessary hard times. But, if there is a silver lining to the hard times that we endure, it is that they often drive us to our knees – in prayer. They make us more aware of our faith walk. They can make us more dependent upon God.

The problem – at least for me – is that when the cruel hand of fate lifts itself from our lives, there is a great temptation to stray in our faith walk. There can be a tendency to place less dependence upon God. Our religious fervor drops a few degrees in its intensity.

It would seem, then, that our great challenge may not to remain faithful during hard times, but to keep the faith during times of prosperity.

Jesus told a story of man who was tested during a time of plenty (Luke 12:16-21). This farmer had experienced an unprecedented bumper crop and began to plot how he might handle his multiplied wealth. He had decided to tear down his old barns, build bigger ones, and then kick back and enjoy life.

We don’t know how the man’s faith fared during difficult times, but in this time of plenty it did not perform so well. As Jesus tells the story, after the man made the decision to retire early and enjoy his bounty, his life ended. Then, as he stood before God he realized that though he was “earthly rich,” he was not “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21). His faith did not pass the test of the ‘good times.’

I find myself thinking of this often. I enjoy a blessed life. God provides abundantly for my needs and has given me talents and abilities in certain areas. Therefore, I experience first-hand the temptation to cease in my reliance on God and to invest my talents into myself. It’s a temptation that frightens me.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting that riches or blessings are evil. They are gifts from God and He doesn’t send us evil gifts. I do believe, however, that He sends them to us so that we might invest them in His Kingdom. I also believe God allows them into our lives to test our faith. We will be faithful in the good times as well as the bad? Will the times of prosperity drive us to our knees in the same way as the times of want? Will God find us rich toward Him?

May God grant me the faith to walk with Him faithfully when things are going my way.

Dane Cramer is a backpacker, Christian blogger, jail chaplain, and author of two books: Romancing the Trail and The Nephilim: A Monster Among Us.



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