Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Joy of Trials

Someone once asked me what gives me inspiriation for what I write. What I write always comes through my personal time in Scripture, personal trials I learn from, and personal growth in Christ. My blog is hopefully a reflection of God at work in me and me alone. My prayers are that people will read my posts and God will speak to them about their circumstances as He works in me. This article is written as I walk through the trials of dealing with difficulty with my aging parents (whom I'm praying God will heal). I pray you find hope and encouragement from this:

Ever had tough times in this life? If not, just wait. I pray that none of you have extreme difficulty in this life but sometimes tough times come. All of us, if we could, would design the ideal life. Things like conflict, hardship, pain, suffering, and trials would be avoided. Sometimes, God has purpose in the storms of our life. We have to remember Nahum 1:7, “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”

Moses was someone who had a few tough times during his life. He fled after a murder, wandered in the desert for years, and led millions of people who whined and complained for forty years. Moses found out how to deal with the trials of life and took them on boldly. God had called him in Exodus 3 to lead the Israelites out of bondage. But a calling does not eliminate trials. Pharaoh must have been ruthless and intimidating. But Moses stood before him ten times unwilling to give up. Each time a different plague was sent, Pharaoh made it harder for the Israelites and they in turn were ungrateful for Moses’ efforts.

Moses didn’t give up when opposition arose though. Eventually the Israelites were set free. Moses endured. Hebrews 11:27 tells us he kept his focus on God who is unseen instead of Pharaoh who was seen. In the midst of trials, Moses remembered his calling and God’s faithfulness. God gave him victory.

Romans 8:28 tells us all things work out for the good of those who love God and are called to do His will. It didn’t say everything would just work out for anyone but only those who trust in God and are called by Him. It didn’t mean the problem would go away either. God’s love and calling overshadows the trials and problems of this world. Someone told me recently, “remember what Scripture says: ‘this too shall pass’”. I quickly reminded them that that was not a Bible verse. Sometimes we go through trials because they are vehicles on which God’s calling and character are built in our lives. When tough times surface, ungodly attitudes and habits often do as well. During a tough time the Holy Spirit can refine your rough edges and grow you in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Hard times can also bring us closer to God as we realize our inability and dependence on Him. Trials can increase our companionship with the Father.

Some of our problems are brought about by our sins (Proverbs 13:15). Others come by doing what is right (2 Timothy 3:12). Trials are part of life on this earth. James 1:2-3 reminds us to be joyful about the various trials that come our way because the trying of our faith produces patience, maturity, and wisdom. Psalm 119:71 also reminds us that trials keep us from arrogance: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted: that I might learn Your statutes”. God does not create or cause evil (i.e. Psalm 136:1; 1 Timothy 4:4), but if the evils of this world could be seen in right perspective, believers would grow closer to God in the midst of the storm while waiting for Him to calm them as well.

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