Your disciple has the potential to completely misinterpret the circumstances of his life, which could set him up to become bitter at the Lord. During the Exodus the Israelites surveyed their circumstances and concluded:
The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. (Deuteronomy 1:26)
Moses then gives a totally different perspective of the same situation:
The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. (Deuteronomy 1:30-31)
The Israelites believed the Lord’s intent was hate while his true motivation was a fatherly love and they were convinced of their pending doom while in actuality the Lord was fighting for their good.
The first rule of waterskiing is, “Don’t look down at the water,” which of course is naturally what new skiers want to do. The skiers’ adage that instructors tell new skiers says, “If you look down you’ll fall down.” Israel focused on the wrong thing by looking at their circumstances and therefore concluded that God hated them while Caleb, in the midst of the same conditions, looked at the character of God and found courage.
Your friendship serves as a point of reference for your disciple as he is tossed back and forth between his despair that God is failing him and his belief in the goodness of God. Just as the instructor in the boat yells to the new water-skier, “Don’t look down at the water!” so your role is remind your disciple to focus on the character of God and not on the circumstances.
- Although it is difficult to watch your disciple’s faith being tested it is an essential part of his maturing process.
- Not only do threatening circumstances reveal to you your disciple’s perception of the Lord, it is also the only way he can know the degree of his trust in the Lord.
- The Lord will not test your disciple one millisecond beyond what he can endure nor give him an ounce of trial more than he can bear.