I desire that all the children of God who read this account of God's work in Bristol be led to trust Him for everything they need under any circumstances. I pray that the many answers to prayer we have seen may encourage them to pray, particularly for the conversion of their friends and relatives, their own growth in grace and knowledge, the saints whom they know personally, the state of the Church, and the success of the preaching of the gospel. Especially, I affectionately warn them against being led away by the deception of Satan to think that these things are peculiar to me and cannot be enjoyed by all the children of God.
All believers are called upon, in the simple confidence of faith, to cast all their burdens on God and to trust Him for everything. They should not only make everything a subject of prayer, but expect answers to their petitions which they have asked according to His will and in the name of the Lord Jesus. I do not have the gift of faith mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:9 along with the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, and prophecy. It is true that the faith which I am able to exercise is God's own gift. He alone supports it, and He alone can increase it. Moment by moment, I depend on Him. If I were left to myself, my faith would utterly fail.
My faith is the same faith which is found in every believer. It has been increasing little by little for the last twenty-six years. Many times when I could have gone insane from worry, I was in peace because my soul believed the truth of that promise-"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28).
When my brother and my dear father died, I had no evidence that they were saved. But I dare not say that they are lost, for I do not know. My soul was perfectly at peace under this trial, which is one of the greatest a believer can experience. I laid hold of that promise, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25). This word, together with the whole character of God, as He has revealed Himself in His holy Word, settled all questionings. I believed what He has said concerning Himself and have been at peace ever since concerning this matter.
When sometimes all has appeared to be dark in my ministry, I could have been overwhelmed in grief and despair. At such times I was encouraged in God by faith on His almighty power, His unchangeable love, and His infinite wisdom. I said to myself, "God is able and willing to deliver me." It is written, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32). This promise kept my soul in peace.
When trials have come against me which were far heavier than the financial needs; when lying reports were spread that the orphans did not have enough to eat or were cruelly treated; or when greater trials came in connection with this work, and I was nearly a thousand miles away from Bristol week after week; at such times my soul was stayed upon God. I believed His promises, and I poured out my soul before Him. I could rise from my knees in peace because the trouble was cast upon God.
By the grace of God, I do not boast in speaking this way. I give the glory to God alone that He has enabled me to trust in Him, and He has not permitted my confidence in Him to fail. No one should think that my depending on God is an unusual gift given to me, which other saints have no right to expect.
Trusting in God means more than obtaining money by prayer and faith. By the grace of God, I desire that my faith extend toward everything-the smallest of my own temporal and spiritual concerns, my family, the saints among whom I labor, the Church at large, and everything that has to do with the temporal and spiritual prosperity of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution.
I thank God for the faith He has given me, and I ask Him to uphold and increase it Do not let Satan deceive you into thinking that you could not have the same faith. When I lose something like a key, I ask the Lord to direct me to it; and I look for an answer to my prayer. When a person with whom I have made an appointment is late, and I am inconvenienced, I ask the Lord to hasten him to me. When I do not understand a passage of the Word of God, I lift up my heart to the Lord that He would, by His Holy Spirit, instruct me. I expect to be taught, although I do not fix the time and the manner it should be. When I am going to minister the Word, I seek help from the Lord. While I am conscious of my natural inability as well as utter unworthiness, I am confident and cheerful because I look for His assistance and believe that He will help me.
You may do the same, dear believing reader! Do not think that I am extraordinary or that I have privileges above God's other dear children. I encourage you to try it! Stand firm in the hour of trial, and you will see the help of God, if you trust in Him. When we forsake the ways of the Lord in the hour of trial, the food for faith is lost.
This leads me to the following important point. You ask, "How may I have my faith strengthened?" The answer is this: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). The increase of faith is a good gift, and it must come from God. Therefore, we should ask Him for this blessing.
The following guidelines will help a believer build his faith:. Carefully read the Word and meditate on it. Through reading the Word of God, and especially through meditation on it, the believer becomes acquainted with the nature and character of God. Besides God's holiness and justice, he realizes what a kind, loving, gracious, merciful, mighty, wise, and faithful Father He is. Therefore, in poverty, affliction, death of loved ones, difficulty in service, or financial need, he will rest on the ability of God to help him. He has learned from the Word that God is almighty in power, infinite in wisdom, and ready to help and deliver His people. Reading the Word of God, together with meditation on it, is an excellent way to strengthen faith.
2. We must maintain an upright heart and a good conscience and not knowingly and habitually indulge in things which are contrary to the mind of God. How can I possibly continue to act in faith if I grieve the Lord and detract from His glory and honor? All my confidence in God and all my leaning on Him in the hour of trial will be gone if I have a guilty conscience and yet continue in sin. If I cannot trust in God because of a guilty conscience, my faith is weakened.
With every fresh trial, faith either increases by trusting God and getting help, or it decreases by not trusting Him. A habit of self-dependence is either defeated or encouraged. If we trust in God, we do not trust in ourselves, our fellowmen, circumstances, or in anything else. If we do trust in one or more of these, we do not trust in God.
If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried. The more I am in a position to be tried in faith, the more I will have the opportunity of seeing God's help and deliverance. Every fresh instance in which He helps and delivers me will increase my faith. The believer should not shrink from situations, positions, or circumstances in which his faith may be tried, but he should cheerfully embrace them as opportunities to see the hand of God stretched out in help and deliverance. Thus his faith will be strengthened.
The last important point for the strengthening of our faith is that we let God work for us and do not work a deliverance of our own. When a trial of faith comes, we are naturally inclined to distrust God and to trust in ourselves, in our friends, or in circumstances. We would rather work a deliverance of our own than simply look to God and wait for His help. But if we do not patiently wait for God's help or if we work a deliverance of our own, then at the next trial of our faith we will have the same problem. We will again be inclined to try and deliver ourselves. With every fresh trial, our faith will decrease. On the contrary, if we stand firm in order to see the salvation of God, trusting in Him alone, our faith will be increased. Every time we see the hand of God stretched out on our behalf in the hour of trial, our faith would be increased even more. God will prove His willingness to help and deliver at the perfect time.
Scriptural principles may be used to overcome the difficulties in business or any earthly calling. The children of God, who are strangers and pilgrims on earth, should expect to have difficulty in the world, for they are not at home here. But the Lord has provided us with promises in His Word to cause us to triumph over circumstances. All difficulties may be overcome by acting according to the Word of God.