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03 January, 2013

Trials & Sorrows are Part of The Christian Life!

"In the world, you will have many trials and sorrows." John 16:33

A few years ago, right before my wilderness time with God I had so many challenges in my life. If it was not about problems encountered in the workplace, it was in the family or my finances and so on. My Bible study group was doing a study of the life of Paul. During the study I have acquired understanding and something now I know came from the Holy Spirit was strength to expect the unexpected and to learn to view my trials in His light. During our time of sharing with the group, I mentioned how through the study I have acquired so much understanding in regards to my trials, that I am no longer afraid of them, and I am now equipped to endure anything. The group leader corrected me right away and made sure that I understand it was not the right attitude to expect trials all the time in our Christian walk with God! I believed those words so much that they are still with me even today!

I understand now, while I did not know how to communicate with the Holy Spirit yet, but God used the study of Paul's life to give me a solid understanding of what was to come for me. While my life is far from being like Paul, but the pain and trials pattern that plagued his life have not escaped me. Paul's pain and trials were customized for his life and the time he was living in. Mine are customized for my life and the time that I am living in.  

Through my wilderness wanderings with Him, I have learned to acquire solid faith, as solid as an oak tree. Yet here I am, just finishing seven years of wilderness with Him. Then, just when I thought I was going to get a break and live free of troubles for a little while I found myself afflicted once more. To my surprise the Holy Spirit revealed to me the cause of my affliction this time is simply to learn to wait upon Him without discouragement. One would think because I have acquired solid faith, this waiting period he is putting me through now, would be a piece of cake, but, not so. If this kind of thinking was true, none of us Christians would ever backslide. David would not have gotten involved with Bathsheba, got her pregnant and killed her husband all the while thinking that God is not wiser. How did he get so deep into sinning so badly, when he knew God so well? He simply let his guard down and was not sober minded. Yesterday grace cannot carry us through today or a few months down the road.

Even though the Holy Spirit has told me the goal of this affliction I am in now, and even though I know Him so well, I still find that some days I have doubts, just because of those words the leader said to me a few years ago. It feels as if a tape is being played in my mind and my focus is on the message that is being played instead of focusing on God. Every time I get into those pockets of doubts I have to drag myself out of a state of discouragement and into God's grace and love and take my stand like a true soldier of Christ.

I have read the biography of several of those men that I admire so much for the depth of their walk with God and I found out most of them had some kind of trials that never stopped. An example of that would be Spurgeon who lived his life with continuously painful gout  constant depression, and critics that would not let up. Try having to deal with these things all your life with no relief in sight, I can imagine, his life was no picnic.

The purpose of our trials is to train our faith, sanctify us, and learn from Him while we unlearn those things we acquired on our own or through misguided leaderships. Things like, our explanations of His Word, characters, traits etc. Our trials are by-products of the redemptive life we have in Christ, so they truly prepare us for the life awaiting us in heaven, and teach us intimacy with the triune God. We take root in Him and so on. It is important that we learn not to give in to self-pity, rebel against God, or spend most of our time being so discouraged that Satan would gain the upper hand. During our trials, the right attitude toward God is to me maintained. If we don’t we never learned what it means to walk a steadfast life, persevere and endure in Him and through Him!

Even when life seems to have singled you out, you still have to believe that God has a purpose and nothing escape Him. We have to believe that the God we serve does not make mistakes and He is a good God. So, whatever is our lot, we take it all in His name. Through the pain we believe in Him, cling to Him and learn to choose Him over and over again and as we do, we position ourselves for more of His grace, we are comforted and strengthen.

To choose Him over and over again requires that we learn to focus on Him. Not His blessings and not what other people’s lives are in comparison to ours. So, look to Him on the cross and cling to Him, do not let go.