February 2014
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Before And After

What changes take place in a life of faith after severe testing? I thought of this as I read the tragic story of a Jamaican dad who accidentally shot and killed his 18-year-old daughter while trying to protect his family from intruders.

News reports said he went to church (as was his habit) the next day—distraught but still seeking God’s help. Faith in God guided him before, and he knew God could sustain him after.

I thought about this in regard to my own life—having also lost a teenage daughter. To review how I viewed life and faith before Melissa’s death, I dug into my computer archives to read the last article I had written before we lost her in June 2002. How would what I said then correspond to what I know now? Had severe testing changed my view of faith in God? In May of that year, I had written this: “David was not afraid to go boldly to God and tell Him what was on his heart. . . . We don’t have to be afraid to tell God what is on our heart.”

Before I went through tough times, I went to God and He listened to me. After, I discovered that He still listens and comforts and sustains. So I continue to pray in faith. Our faith remains intact and is strengthened because He is the God of the before and the after.

God is still on the throne,
He never forsaketh His own;
His promise is true, He will not forget you,
God is still on the throne. Suffield
What we know of God encourages us to trust Him in all we do not know.

Insight

Psalm 55 is a song of the shepherd-king David. It was written during a season of great distress and may have been the expression of David's despair as he fled from his son Absalom. Absalom had enlisted men of Israel in a conspiracy to overthrow David as king so that he could then take the throne for himself (2 Sam. 15). If this indeed is the context, the lament of verses 12-14 likely refers to David's trusted friend and counselor Ahithophel (1 Chron. 27:33), who abandoned David and joined the conspiracy with Absalom.