Sunday, December 30, 2012

Deep Calls to Deep-Devotion 5 "Trials"

"A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."
James 1:12

Unemployment during the Great Depression

Dear friends, it is so important to hear from the Lord, to rely on His truths.  A million voices will scream at you daily, but His Word will bring calmness, silence, and abiding truth.  When we are being pulled to rely on ourselves, to figure it all out, there is One Voice that can be heard saying, "This is the way, walk in it.(Isaiah 30:21)"  It is our good shepherd.  

Many of us find ourselves in less than favorable circumstances today or what the bible calls, "trials."  Some of these trials are outright devastating.  You may wake daily with a sickening feeling in your stomach because of stress you are facing at work, unjust wages, or unfair treatment.  You may drag yourself through the day in depression, darkness looming over you with evil forebodings because of the loss of loved ones, betrayal by a friend, or that one person that just gets under your skin.  Your trials may be different.  Maybe your newborn has colic and is constantly screaming.  Bills, debt, financial worries consume your day.  No matter what it is that is stealing your peace, let's call it was it is, "A Trial."     

So often I hear people say, "but God wants me to be happy."  He does?  He wants a Christian's happiness more than He wants a drug addict set free?  He wants a redeemed person to have a care-free life more than he wants your boss and coworker saved?  These are not things we want to hear. Can God love you, yet let you experience trials for eternal purposes?  Yes.  

There are many Scriptures about God blessing us, but there are also hard Scriptures about trials, too.  Trials come to make us strong.  It is written in Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze."  These Scriptures are not of an easy, American Dream life, but of a steadfast, strong warrior who is walking through hard times without being overtaken.

The next time you find yourself in a trial, no matter what it is, instead of praying to get out of it, or getting upset, not understanding where God is because you aren't blessed, ask God to hear from Him.  Does He want you to stay in that trial to see someone know Him?  Is He developing a character trait in you to make you more like Him?  Are you having financial difficulties because He is ridding you of the love of money?  Why are you in the trial?  The promise isn't that we would have a trial-free life, but that we would be, "Pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)."  Remember Daniel went in the lions den, but he was not harmed because God was with him in the trial.

He is with you, too.

And, Guess what?  There is encouraging news!  Sometimes you will find yourself in a trial and after seeking Him, He SETS YOU FREE!  He takes you out of the trial, and sets you on a high place.  He says, "No more!"  And blesses you beyond your wildest dreams!  You come out of the trial unharmed, but maybe with a little bruised pride.

The freedom He brings is both in and out of trials.  Seek Him no matter what.

Power Verses
"For my ways are not your ways, neither are your thoughts my thoughts, for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

"I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart, I have overcome the world!"  John 16:33