Jesus was very popular early on in His ministry, especially after performing His most popular miracle to date: the feeding of the five thousand. Now we’re talking—a guy who gives us free lunch! This is awesome! The crowds swelled. Huge multitudes followed Him. So Jesus turned to them and challenged them, and the result was that many turned away. They weren’t following Jesus for the right reasons.
Some people say they are Christians, but then, when a little hardship comes their way, they say they don’t believe anymore. They claim to have lost their faith. Their faith was worthless in that case, because the faith that can’t be tested is the faith that can’t be trusted.
If you were to tell me that you’ve lost your faith because of a hardship or difficulty, then I would tell you that I’m glad you lost that faith—because it wasn’t real faith at all. If you have real faith in God, then it won’t be weakened by calamity; it will be strengthened by it. If you have real faith, then it will grow through hardship. That is what the Bible teaches.
Tragedy, hardship, and trials don’t produce faith as much as they reveal it. If your faith is really in Jesus, then you will get through the storms of life. If you tell me that you turned away from God because of something that happened in your life, then my question is do you even have faith? Maybe it’s time to get some.
Jesus thinned out the ranks of His so-called followers. Gideon did the same when God called him into battle against the Midianites. Why? Because God can do more with three hundred committed people than with ten thousand halfhearted people. And He is still looking for committed people today.