We’re oft made to wonder…
March 23rd, 2019
Good things happen to bad people – Bad things happen to good people. This is a fact of life. How is it that the trials of life can mold us into the disciple Jesus desires us to be? We’ll look at the scriptural basis of trials and why they may be good for us.
I love old hymns so very much. As I was preparing for today’s devotional one kept playing in my mind over again and again.
Further Along – Barney E. Warren, pub.1911
Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.
Most old hymns are right on target regarding the spiritual message behind the lyrics, however ‘Further Along’ positions the believer in the moment of trails we all go through in our journey when we look to heaven and ask, “Why Lord?”
The song doesn’t get it wrong, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The last line of the last verse says, “Then we shall know and understand why.” The ‘then’ here being when we at last are with Jesus in our heavenly home.
God’s Word explains a lot of the why behind our trials. Some details remain concealed from us for a time, in most cases putting time between us and our trials, we come to see how God has used each one for our development.
It’s about positioning
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (ESV)
If you really believe Jesus and His Word, then Romans 8:28 isn’t a promise, it’s a state of being for his disciples. Earlier this week we talked about the reliability and infallibility of the Word of God. If we carry that forward to this passage in Romans, we have the basis from which we can process through the trials in our lives.
If we are embracing the issue in the mind of Christ, then the question of ‘why’ becomes ‘what’ or ‘how’.
What – is it that God is using this for in my life.
And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.”
Deuteronomy 29:2-6 (ESV)
The Children of Israel had wandered in the wilderness over the course of a generation. While this was a trial, they did not see ‘what’ God was showing them. God wanted them to not just have them desire a relationship with Him but learn to be reliant on Him for their sustenance.
How – is Jesus using this for benefit?
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)
Consistently when we come out the other side of a trying situation, we look back and even when though we wouldn’t go through it a second time; we are left with a thankful and appropriately it brings us to a point of praise and acknowledgement of the grace of Jesus in our lives.
As we saw in Deuteronomy, God uses these things to draw us closer to Him.
Our exit from trials can literally be consider our practice session for giving praise, glory, and honor to “the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
This is an awesome thought when you really consider it. Trials are not that different exercise. One who conducts regular workouts to improve their bodies strengths, agility and performance; revels in the period after the workout is concluded to bask in the effort’s aftereffect.
This results in the phrase often used of ‘having a good workout’.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4 (ESV)
Paul tells James, ‘Brother, count those trials as cause for rejoicing in the Lord!’
See just as the exercise enthusiast revels in the workout not for the workouts sake but for ‘how’ the workout results in a positive change in their bodies; our trials are objects we should revel in because Jesus is using this to transform us into a stronger, more agile, better version of us spiritually.
Coming to the end of the passage Paul says, “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Lacking in NOTHING! That we might become perfect and complete in Jesus Christ our Lord and Master.
How frequently we see trials as we lack what we need or desire, the result is to provide us with exactly what we desire to become. This is ‘how’ it is accomplished. Through the trials.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12 (ESV)
Therefore, we should take these trials presented to us in this life as the platform from which we reach out and grasp hope, rejoicing for the grace that is imparted to us freely by Jesus. Hold tightly to patience. We are to abide in Jesus just as He abides in the Father and be constant in prayer.
Earlier this week, we touched base on the fact we are called on to do what the world thinks is impossible.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
You cannot do these things without the power of Jesus flowing through you. It is impossible in the terms of human ability. Everyone has a bad day; not when they are abiding in Jesus, the true vine!
Our connection to our savior lives in us and the faintest whisper or cry out to Him is echoed directly to His heart and just as the Great Commission concludes with “And low I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” He’s with us always because His Spirit lives inside us.
I think the greatest solution for our trials is there in those three verses in 1st Thessalonians…
Rejoice always – when trials beat at your door.
Pray without ceasing – turn those trials over to God who is seeking to draw you closer to himself.
Give thanks in all circumstances – because despite the strain our Lord is using this to perfect us in His grace.
Not ‘further along’, this is a truth. We can revel in our “Trials” right now, whatever they are, because we can do this thing through Christ Jesus who strengthens us and ALL THINGS work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
We don’t have to ask why when we are abiding in Jesus, holding fast to the true vine. We will come out the other side of this trial; rejoicing, stronger than before, closer to the one who surrendered His life for us, to secure a relationship with us.
We all can revel in our “Trials”, it starts with trusting Jesus.
In the Grace of Jesus,