Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Storms of Life

As I was pondering this morning my circle of family and friends, I realized how many of them are going through tough trials. When I thought of the number of friends who are battling cancer, I was astounded. Many of them have gotten through the worst part of the treatments, and are now in remission, but cancer always lies somewhere below the surface of your mind wondering when it will rise its ugly head to strike you again. I have a friend who was in an ugly car wreck and was paralyzed, but has accomplished so much to get her life back together. I have family and friends who have gone through ugly divorces and are now trying to struggle on their own to raise their children or to make it on their own financially. I have friends who are just plain getting older and are wondering what lies ahead for them in their future. Trials are a natural part of life. We don't ask for them, they just arise and we have to deal with them. But thank God above we do not have to deal with them alone. God has a very different perspective on the trials that come our way and they are for a very different reason than the ones we conjure up as we face them. If it were up to us, we would never welcome trials. But God says, "count it all joy." How is this possible?

I love the NLT version of I Peter 1:6-7, "So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."

Our trials here on earth are not meant to sink us into a deep pit of despair, but rather they are to purify us and cleanse us as fire purifies gold. Trials force us to call upon a higher power source than our own. We realize that God alone can bring good out of what we are going through. It brings us back on the trail to godliness. Secondly, trials allow us the opportunity to comfort others who may be going through similar trials. With the same comfort that God comforted us, we can comfort others going through the same fears and anxieties as we did. As we experience suffering, we learn about God's sufficiency, His comforting presence, and His provision of strength to help us endure. We can be real with others because we know what they are going through. When trials come, ask what God wants you to know through this trial. He wants you to know Him as a God of ALL comfort. He wants you to know that His grace IS sufficient to get you through to the other side of the pain. He wants you to experience the strength He is so willing to give you if you recognize him as your all-powerful God. And He wants you to tell others about His comfort, strength and grace!

You are not alone in your trial! God is ever so near!


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