09 Jan Thank You For the Trial
received an email this afternoon from a dear friend sharing good news of a clean bill of health after a lengthy battle with cancer. “Mama Alice”, as I refer to her, is an amazing woman of faith who uses every possible opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with anyone and everyone. And during her hospital stays and chemo treatments she shared her Jesus with anyone she could.
So many people ask, “Why?” when pain or suffering strike them or a loved one. We hear comments like, “How could God let something like that happen to such a good person?” But as I read God’s Word it appears that being “good” has nothing to do with it. Nothing at all. Suffering, pain and “trials of many kinds” are part of what typify the “normal” Christian life (James 1:2-4). Therefore, we are to expect them. No only that, but we are to consider them “nothing but joy” (James 1:2, NET) when they come upon us.
If you’re still scratching your head over that one, then it’s time to stop asking “why” and start asking “Who.”
Who is this God that allows such things to happen? Just Who is He?
Knowing God’s character… trusting who God is, is paramount to navigating any kind of trial victoriously. We could go into several weeks of Bible study on this topic but that’s for another time. For now, however, I will tell you that what I know from personal experience, and from the Word of God is this: God never, ever allows anything painful to touch one of His very own children unless He has profound purpose in it.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (NKJV).
Friend, God has thought about you from the very beginning of time. He has well thought through the plans He has for your life. He has considered every detail of every single one of those plans as well as the implications of those plans on you and those around you. And I can assure you that if He has spoken an Almighty “yes” to them, then He is going to work in all of it for His great glory and your eternal good (Romans 8:28).
One thing I know for sure is that God’s purposes for the trials are as many and varied as the trials themselves. Trials are always a multi-faceted experience that impacts others. Pain and suffering are perhaps God’s greatest teaching tools- and not just for the one personally experiencing the suffering. Trials are a divine megaphone that allows us to testify to the greatness and grace of God in the midst of some pretty terrible situations.
You see, the world is watching you. Nonbelievers don’t read Bibles; they read Christians. Your life preaches what you believe, and nothing preaches louder than and exhibition of joy in the midst of many kinds of trials. On this side of glory you will never know the full extent of your usefulness to the kingdom through your particular trial… but one day you will.
And so we consider it all… every bit of it, nothing but joy. Yes, we shout, “THANK YOU, LORD!” when we have come through the trial victoriously. But we are even more so victorious… more than conquerors, when we say, “Thank You for the trial, Jesus. Thank You for it.”
Never forget that YOU are greatly and dearly loved by the King!