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February 2, 2009

Proven Character

“This thing has come from Me” (1 Kings 12:24). How many times have we faced difficulties and wondered, “Why did this happen? Surely, God knew all about it.” And He does. Job wrote, “He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (23:10). These words remind us of what James wrote to the believers who had fled their homes because of persecution. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1:2-4).

Paul also encouraged those who were living in very trying times with these words: “We exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5 emphasis added).

There is something about having godly character that goes beyond looking good to your peers, sounding intellectual when you speak, praying with a resounding voice, or achieving some position in ministry. Character makes a much bolder statement. It says: “I have been with God, I know Him, I trust Him, and I have given my life to Him. Whatever He chooses for me, I will accept and even embrace because I know He only has the very best in mind for me. Therefore, I will bow down before Him in humble adoration.” Basically, this was Job’s heart’s cry. His life was fully submitted to the Lord.

Do you ever wonder why there are so many trials in life? Why do we have to endure so much?” Could it be that God has a plan in mind for your life and the only way to accomplish it is through difficulty and trial? Charles Spurgeon wrote, “God does not train His soldiers on feather couches.” Can’t you see Dr. Forrest smiling at those words and nodding in agreement? He lived through two world wars and also the Korean War. In his lifetime, he faced countless disappointments, but he had been personally trained in God’s classroom of adversity. Once Ruth Woerner Good said, “Dr. and Mrs. Forrest were as poor as church mice, but they were rich as any king or queen.” The Forrests had godly character—something that could not be defined by this world.

To them, Toccoa Falls was truly “a place where character was developed with intellect.” They understood that in this world there would be much tribulation, but they also knew that Jesus Christ has overcome the world. (John 16:33) Godly character (with intellect) is the result of walking right in step with Him every day.

Taken from the online devotional book Grace in The Wilderness © 2009