Wednesday, January 23, 2013

times of trial

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Some Trials Are Hard To Bear

Our trials produce patience and help us learn to depend on God. Some tribulations seem too terrible to bear, as was the time when I first learned of my mother’s death. I was fifteen, and practicing B-team basketball at the old auditorium-gym at Stevenson High School. My uncle Jim Crownover came into the gym and took me to one side. With pain in his voice, he told me that my mother had just died while giving birth to my baby sister.  My mother had toxemia, and died of the shock from her kidney failure.
There is no way I can tell you the depth of the hurt felt by my father and us six brothers and sisters. We were in shock. We did not want to believe mother was gone. No mother was loved more by her children, and to my reckoning, no mother ever loved her children more than my mother. The tears still flow as I think about the pain of the moment and the years that followed as we struggled to survive without our mother. Six children, ages seventeen down to seven, and a father completely broken by the loss.
Time has not healed the loss completely, as my tears attest.  But the outcome of that suffering is remarkable. Seven siblings all touched by the hand of God, and blessed to live lives of faith and trust. Such is the promised outcome of trials for those who believe in Jesus. Trials test our faith and refine our understanding.
As Peter wrote,     1 Peter 1:3-7 – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,  who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” NIV
Can we rejoice in our times of trial? It is difficult, but we must learn to look for the blessings that follow. Strengthened faith and new opportunities and blessings await those who trust in Jesus for strength.
James, brother of Jesus, wrote this, James 1:2-5 – “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.” 

Not everyone is blessed by trials, because some draw back and blame God for allowing hurtful events. It is a question of faith. Do we believe God? Do we understand the purpose for trials? We are not in control of our lives, but when we serve and depend on the Lord of heaven and earth, things will work out for our good in the end. Trials put us to the test and produce dependence on God if we believe His promises.

Heb 12:2-6 – “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." NIV

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