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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Why trials? Part 2

This week, a person turned in the following request to our church website (You Version). 

The request touched me.

All it said was, "Help me God."

It brought back what I know:  "When God is all I have - God is all I need."

Sometimes we reach a point in our lives where all we can pray is, "Help me God"!

Let's go back to James 1:3 (Part 2 of a two part blog on "why God"?) where Pastor James writes, "the testing of your faith produces".  Produces what?

Endurance.  Perseverance.

Literally, "the ability to remain under".

You see, in the midst of the adversity that you are going through - God wants you to remain (strong, steadfast, in peace) under.

If you are like me, when a problem comes, you start to feel the pressure - we start to feel the weight that God allows.

We try to remain strong.

But if we were all candid today, we don't want to remain under the trial, we want to get out from underneath it.  We want to run away - and run away as fast as possible.

Here's what I know (and it is a hard truth):  complaining is not the same thing as enduring.

When we face a problem we want to either complain, lash out or take it out on other people around us or bail.

"I didn't sign up for this."  "This is not why I got married."  "This is not why I took this job."

Can I tell you something?  Never make a major decision in your life when  you are feeling the pressure - and never quit.

What do we do when problems come?

We humble ourselves before God.

I Peter 5:6, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time."

In other words, bear up under that trial with the strength and grace of God.

Ask for wisdom.

James 1:5 states, "If you lack wisdom, ask of God who gives to all generously without reproach (without fault - God never looks down on us, friends, for asking the "why" question) and it will be given to him."

Remember, gang, this verse is written in the context of trials.  If you lack wisdom about the adversity you are going through, God will answer.

He may not answer the "big questions" of, "why is there a world.  Or why do bad things happen to good people."  (And there are good answers to those questions).

He may not answer the biggest "why" - "Why do I have to go through this Lord?"  "I need to know."

The "why" that Jesus will answer is the answer to the question, "What do you want to teach me through this Lord?"

"What's next on your agenda for me in becoming more like you?"


That doesn't mean I fake it or pretend like everything is okay when everything is not okay.  God's not into denial.  Nor does it mean that I am to be some sort of masochist.  "Great, Lord, hit me one more time!"  "I love it!"

That doesn't mean that I play the victim.  This is huge.  It is so easy for us (me) to play the martyr.  The victim. 

Here are some of the symptoms of playing the victim:

You can't stop talking about the issue.  You become consumed with "the issue" until you lose your focus completely and sometimes say or do foolish things that hurt yourself and others and permanently damage relationships so you end up feeling more miserable than when you were in the trial itself.

But give thanks, not for the problem but in the problem.  Not for the situation but in the situation.

Why should I give God thanks for my marriage ripping apart?  For cancer?  For an accident?

No!  We give thanks because we know that God can take the bad in our lives and turn it around and bring good out of it.

What makes the difference?  Our attitude.  We choose joy.

Praise God at all times.

David writes in Psalms 34:1, "I will bless the Lord at all times.  His praise shall continually be in my mouth."

I will praise that Lord at all times.  I choose to praise God.  I choose to walk in joy. 

Finally, know that God cares.

God is aware of your situation.  God sees everything you are going through right now. 

God has you on his speed dial!

God could change your situation in an instant - but God is more concerned about you!  Your character.  Your holiness.

James writes in James 1:12, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial.  When he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." 

God says, "there will be a reward."

Just a thought for a Wednesday.

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