Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. (Luke 22: 31– 32)
Our faith is the center of the target God aims at when He tests us, and if any gift escapes untested, it certainly will not be our faith. There is nothing that pierces faith to its very marrow— to find whether or not it is the faith of those who are immortal— like shooting the arrow of the feeling of being deserted into it. And only genuine faith will escape unharmed from the midst of the battle after having been stripped of its armor of earthly enjoyment and after having endured the circumstances coming against it that the powerful hand of God has allowed.
Faith must be tested, and the sense of feeling deserted is “the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual” (Dan. 3: 19) into which it may be thrown. Blessed is the person who endures such an ordeal!
~Charles H. Spurgeon
Paul said, “I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4: 7), but his head was removed! They cut it off, but they could not touch his faith. This great apostle to the Gentiles rejoiced in three things: he had “fought the good fight,” he had “finished the race,” and he had “kept the faith.” So what was the value of everything else? The apostle Paul had won the race and gained the ultimate prize— he had won not only the admiration of those on earth today but also the admiration of heaven. So why do we not live as if it pays to lose “all things . . . that [we] may gain Christ” (Phil. 3: 8)? Why are we not as loyal to the truth as Paul was? It is because our math is different— he counted in a different way than we do. What we count as gain, he counted as loss. If we desire to ultimately wear the same crown, we must have his faith and live it.
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 360-361). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.