As I prayed into today’s post, the Lord brought to mind one of the quotes from Bob Goff’s book, Love Does.
“When Jesus invites us on an adventure, He shapes who we become with what happens along the way.”
I am a fan of political thriller novels, which always involve a main character that perseveres through deception and danger to emerge the hero of the story. This type of novel is packed with hold-your-breath moments where you are not sure if the hero will make it out alive (of course, they will because they are the HERO of the story).
If we were to interview the main character in the middle of the storyline when they are being shot at or tortured, ‘adventure’ would probably not be the word they would use to describe their current circumstance. They might say that life is painful and hard, and they would probably want to quit. Ultimately, though, they persevere, and who they are at the end of the novel is the sum total of what they have experienced in the preceding pages.
Without exception, life for humans can be hard, and it does not always feel like an adventure. There are times of joy and pleasure, as well as times of pain and trial. Some days flow over us like a gentle breeze, while others twist us like a tornado. But, there is hope.
For the Christ-follower, there will be a day that you will look back on our lives and become fully aware of what God was doing in the tough times. Until that day, however, you may need a bit of encouragement to keep on keeping on. I want to offer you that right here, right now.
Your Trial Did Not Take God By Surprise
God is not a detached, grumpy grandfather who sleeps most of the time. He is very involved in our lives, orchestrating circumstances and times. When bad days hit, when there is more month left at the end of the money, when the ‘D’ word comes out your spouse’s mouth, when all manner of trials beset us, God is not sitting in heaven saying, “I never saw that one coming.”
In Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon tells us that there is a season and a time for everything under the sun. The good and the bad, everything has a season planned out by God.
Does that mean that God causes bad things to happen to you? No, but He does allow them. We live in a fallen, sin-stained world where bad things are a consequence of that fallen state. None of it is because God hates us, and none of it has God wringing His holy hands in angst. He is a loving Father who has our ultimate good in mind.
There is Purpose in Your Trial
In Romans 8:28 Paul assures us that all things work together for our good if we are followers of Jesus. All things. For Christ-followers.
Romans 8:28 does not say that all things that happen to us are good. It says that all things work together for our good. So, whatever God allows into our lives…physical illness, divorce, death, wayward children, job loss, mental illness, natural disasters, financial problems….whatever it is, God will use it to grow our faith and mold us into the image of Jesus.
Does it hurt? Flitter, yes, it hurts! Is it worth the pain? A thousand times YES! Regardless of what I have to go through, if it makes me more like Jesus, bring it. Trust me, I do not say that lightly. I’m not out signing up for trials and heartache. But, if God has to take me down a path of trial in order to draw me closer to Him, then I bend my knee to it because I trust Him completely.
God Never Wastes a Trial
Not only will your trials grow your faith and conform you more and more to the image of Jesus, they will be something that you can use one day to encourage other people. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) Paul tells us:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
I’ve seen it happen time and again. A woman who endures a divorce she never wanted ministers to another woman going through the same thing. A man with a cancer diagnosis comforts another who has recently heard the C word applied to his situation. A mother with a wayward child is comforted by another mom who has traveled that same path.
We can comfort one another because we have traveled a similar path. God never wastes a trial. Do you need encouragement for when life is hard? Turn to Scripture and begin meditating on the passages I have referenced here. Pray and ask God to give you reassurance that He loves you and is walking with you. Ask another Christian to pray for you.
It would be my honor to lift you up in prayer. Please email me at [email protected] with your prayer need.