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Thank God for Trials
To know that God works together for good in the life of His people is one thing, but it is another thing to begin to thank God for what He allows in our life. It is good to grow to understand the heart of God in the midst of a storm. Job, Paul, Jonah, and David were faced with distinct trials and struggles and in the middle of their anguish they understood the heart of God. As a matter of fact, James exhorts us to count it all joy when we are faced with different kinds of trials.
Trials that Work us
James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
James states that trials test our faith, and in the process, work character in our life. Trials teach us how to be content. Philippians 4:11
Trials that Make us
Job 23:10-11”But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.”
You know the story of Job who lost many things in his life – his business, his children, and his health. Job was tested greatly. However, he soon understood that in his darkest hour God was making him. Job said, “I shall come forth as gold.”
Trials that Help us
Jonah 2:1-4 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
It is never wise to go against God’s calling. God will never leave His children but will chastise them. (Proverbs 3:11-12) Jonah’s problem was that he lost his focus, and his vision was marred by bitterness. God prepared a great storm for a purpose. God wanted Jonah to refocus and to return to a life in the will of God. Jonah said, “Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.”
Trials that Break us
Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
When you read the Scriptures you will notice that God is not a respecter of persons, even a person who has a heart for God. As the Word of God states in Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Please note that not all trials are a result of sin. However, David paid a great price and Psalm 51 is a Psalm of David’s repentance. Through David’s storm, and God’s mercy, David realised that God delights in broken people that take God seriously.
It has been said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Trials that Humble us
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
For any Christian to finish well, the grace of God is key; and the grace of God is given to the lowly. Paul would have never finished what God called him to do without God’s grace.
1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Paul realised when his prayers were not answered the way he wished, that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness; for when we are weak, then we are strong in God's grace through Christ.
God is Always Good
We live in a sin cursed world with wickedness on the increase. Many are affected by the evil that we see around us, but one thing is for certain, God is not to be blamed.
Roman 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
A. Torrey knew the meaning of this verse, and he called it “a soft pillow for a tired heart.”
Many of us have rested in Romans 8:28 when faced with an unknown trial. “We know” is used about five times in Romans, and it refers to common knowledge of the Christian – that which God reveals to us. Charles Spurgeon used to say, “I do not need anyone to tell me how honey tastes; I know.” And we know God is good and is for those that love Him and trust Him.
Here are some things to consider:
1. God is not evil, nor the cause of evil.
1 John 1:5 “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
2. God is not responsible for the bad decisions people make.
James 1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:”
3. God is aware of the evil that takes place.
Proverbs 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
4. Nothing takes God by surprise. God is ALL KNOWING, but man must still be responsible for his actions and decisions.
John 6:64 “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”
5. It is God’s choice whether He desires to intervene in certain circumstances of people’s lives.
Proverbs 21:1 “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”
Philippians 2:27 “For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”
6. God, at times, disciplines His children in love when they stray.
Proverbs 3:11-12 “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD love the correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”
a. When Jonah rebelled, the Lord prepared for him a great fish.
b. David was judged (lost his son) because of his sin.
7. People suffer from the bad decisions they make.
Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
8. People suffer from the bad decisions of others.
Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
9. God is fully aware of our circumstances, and God can use the evil that is done to us for good.
Genesis 50:19-20 “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
Job 1:12 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”
10. God knows what is best for us. The Lord may not always answer prayer according to what we would ask and hope for. Paul understood that God uses the trials in our life to help us stay humble and finish the course of God’s will.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient forthee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, thatthe power of Christ may rest upon me.
When I Am Overwhelmed
The Psalms are a wonderful piece of poetry. They are full of truth and testimony that can be sung not only to challenge us, but to comfort our hearts, especially when we may feel overwhelmed. Psalm 61 is tremendous encouragement to those that are perhaps feeling weary in spirit, or have a heavy heart, being burdened down by certain things.
CH Spurgeon said, “This Psalm is a pearl. It is little, but precious. To many a mourner it has furnished utterance when the mind could not have devised speech for itself.”
This Psalm would indicate to us that David was in exile (vs 2). David was driven into exile because of the rebellion of his son Absalom. David’s life was threatened and he was yet in danger. It would also denote that the Psalm would have been composed by David after he had returned to the throne. (vs 6) Delitzsch would have been correct in entitling it, “Prayer and thanksgiving of an expelled King on his way back to his throne.”
David’s response when he was overwhelmed
1. His Prayer
Psalm 61:1 “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.”
2. His Petition
Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalm 61:3 “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”
3. His Passion
Psalm 61:4 “I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.”
4. God’s Promise
Psalm 61:5-7 “For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. vs 6 Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations. vs 7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.”
5. His Praise
Psalm 61:8 “So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever…”
6. His Practice
Psalm 61:8 “…that I may daily perform my vows.”
The Fiery Trial which is to try us
1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: vs 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
Charles H Spurgeon once said,”If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test. It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord’s faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father’s countenance is hidden. A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” is heaven-born faith.”
Do not pray away trials that God allows in your life. The wilderness is a good place when God leads you there. Many lessons are learnt in the desert. However, we must remember that when God leads us to a place He will supply His sufficient Grace. God will supply water in the desert, and He will lead us out in His good timing.
George Mueller once said, "God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hand as a means. I say—and say it deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith…We should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us.”
Paul cried out three times to the Lord to take away the thorn in his flesh, but he soon realized that God "works all things together for good to them that love God" and then Paul gloried in his trials.
(2 Corinthians 12:8-9) "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. vs 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
1 Peter 4:13 “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”