He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, July 27, 2015

Faith In Spite of Trials

           I have a friend going through a really bad time.  There is an upheaval in her world she never dreamed possible and is facing challenges that leave her on the brink of despair.  Yet when I see her, she stands strong for her faith in Christ.  She is an incredible inspiration, quick to share her faith with everyone she meets, despite her own pain.  Her situation has her totally dependent on God to see to her needs.  There are times when she literally has no idea how God will provide, but He always does.  It’s here she finds rest and reassurance, she isn’t alone.  She finds strength in a God she loves and believes in and is able to share with others.

            I’ve heard it said everyone is either coming out of a trial, in a trial, or going into one. Our lives are inundated daily with situations at work, school, or in personal relationships that test the very core of what we believe, our values, our faith in people and sometimes even ourselves.  Further, we live in a culture driven by instant gratification.  Then we ask God, when things throw us off kilter, “Why me?” Biblically we should probably be asking, “God, why not me?”

            Most of us would not volunteer to be put through a trial or tested. It takes energy, stamina, faith and "stick it to-it-iveness" that can leave us physically and emotionally drained.   Yet when trials and testing come our way, if we can recognize them for what they are: as God given and an opportunity for growth, we will have a better ability to deal with them.  Our value system determines how we evaluate the situation.  Will we allow the trial to bend us or build us?  Will we choose to find someone for quick comfort or will we allow our character to grow into a solid man or woman of God?

  Pain allows, sometimes, even demands, taking time for asking direction, acknowledging  God’s inspection and correction, that leads to His protection; and finally a means to God’s perfection.   In this mindset we can face our situation with a joyful attitude.  This doesn’t mean we are necessarily happy, but we can still experience joy since joy is a fruit of the Spirit.

When we trust in faith on God, we can act on what we believe despite how we feel! This isn’t always an easy task.  As humans our emotions can cause us to veer down a wrong path.  Anger and bitterness can drown out forgiveness causing an even greater problem, even affecting physical health, and certainly relationships, since often words are spoken in anger that cannot be recaptured.

When trials are received with patience and endurance, which is not passive acceptance, they can be an aid to spiritual maturity.  By having a surrendered will, asking God what he wants to teach us, and what he wants us to do, we have the opportunity to grow in Him.  He told us in His Word to ask and reassures us He will give.  This is not the same as “name it, claim it,” but God does want to bless us and when we are in prayer, study His Word and follow through on His commands, we’ll be better prepared for whatever trial life hands us.

So it’s important to first identify the trial and decide how to respond. Will the reaction be based on what we believe or what we feel?   We can know with complete confidence, testing can work for us and not against us when we believe in faith …. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 (NIV)