Week of: Sept. 19, 2011 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Trials, Testing and Joy
When you first read the above Scripture, you might be tempted to view it as preposterous, hang in there. Nothing in the Word of God is without value.
Kay Arthur in her book As Silver Refined asks the question; “How do you respond when your husband or wife tramples your emotions? When your boss fires you unexpectedly? When you lose your life’s savings? When the child you loved and prayed for turns his back on you and your values? How do you respond?
As I was reading Kay’s introduction to her book, it was like God was sitting right next to me. Through this book, it appeared that God might be attempting to answer some questions that I had been agonizing over myself. God is so gracious in how He provides for our every need. In addition to resting in God’s Word, I know that it was no coincidence that I was involved in the As Silver Refined Bible study with the sub-title being; "Learning to Embrace Life’s Disappointments." I was truly in a season of heartache and this would prove to be perfect timing on God's part.
In an article titled “Trials and Joy,” Dr. Charles Stanley expounds on James chapter 1. He explains that “considering it pure joy” is a divine vantage point, not a human one. Dr. Stanley explains: “First of all we need to understand that these verses are not telling us to be happy in our pain, but rather to rejoice in the blessings that accompany suffering. The word consider is an accounting term that means, “to evaluate.” When we look at hardships from God’s perspective and place the proper value on them, we can rejoice in the beneficial outcome, even while experiencing pain. Humanly speaking, trials hurt; but from the Lord’s point of view they help.
The only way to rejoice during trials is to understand what God designed them to accomplish. Regardless of the difficulty’s source, we can know that the Lord wants to use it to test our faith and thereby produce endurance and spiritual maturity. In every trial, He has hidden a beautiful and precious character gem; but whether we receive it or not, depends upon our response.
Those who really want to be transformed into the image of Christ can rejoice in the many benefits that accompany suffering. How about you? Does your hunger to know the Lord and be transformed by Him exceed your dread of suffering? None of us want to experience pain, but since it’s an unavoidable reality in this fallen world, why not respond in a way that produces eternal benefit? Let’s not waste suffering.”
The gem I discovered through my season of pain and testing was the ability to recognize the healing and restorative power of Christ. At the time that I entered my painful situation, I can honestly tell you that I did not understand it in the context of what Dr. Stanley wrote. However, as I look back over the past year and a half, I see so many blessings birthed from the circumstance. Yes, I said blessings! I have not only learned many things about myself, I have learned to value and live out the wisdom found in Scriptures such as Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 91:1 and Philippians 4:6-7. May I please ask you to take some time to read these on your own?
Today I am grateful that the God of the Bible is teaching me the importance of loving, forgiving, and extending grace within my disappointments. I have seen with my own eyes the grace and mercy of a loving, caring and Sovereign Lord. Nothing in our life comes as a surprise to God. No matter how bad something appears; it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s hopeless unless one is unwilling to work through the issues at hand. Even then, God has the power to control a situation to fit His purpose. I am a firm believer that love has the power to conquer all if we will only choose to offer it.
Through prayer and an unwavering attitude that God is in control, I am beginning to see light. He has empowered me to work in ways I never expected. He is helping me to get better at waiting on His timing. We are working on patience and I am also learning to better evaluate a spirit of anger and bitterness. Today I truly get that blessings will depend on my level of obedience to what God is teaching me. Let me end today by sharing a quote that serves as a daily reminder to never give up. I believe that for the believer, better days are still ahead, but we have to work at becoming part of the solution. Be blessed.
“Your level of obedience to My Word and your faith in My promises will be tested. Disobedience and unbelief will be revealed in the fires of testing, and you will have opportunities to make corrections as necessary. Do not be afraid, for this is part of the cleansing process that will produce the power of My presence. Without the fires of purification, you will not realize the power.” – Marsha Burns
Additional Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48, 1 Peter 4:8, Romans 12:18
Book suggestion: Lord I Just Want to be Happy by Leslie Vernick
Today’s prayer:Father, thank you for the many lessons found within Your Word and through our experiences in this life. Help us to see our disappointments as divine opportunities to learn and grow spiritually. May we not succumb to defeat when it comes to our pain, trials and testing. Give us what we need to endure and persevere. Help us make the necessary corrections in our thoughts and help us align our actions to Your Word. We ask this in Your son’s precious and holy name. Amen.