Trials, tribulations, disappointments, hurts, and suffering; are the things we are promised as children of God. I do not think too many jump up and down at the thought. As humans, we want the easy, soft, straight path to God. Why can’t we get a steady, no hardship, everything is well with my life to get us to heaven? Sounds easy, but it does not sound like a character-building, perseverance gaining, pressing on despite life, does it? Let’s face it, we do not want to do the hard things if we can get away with the easy.
God’s word is very clear about the path of every believer. We are not promised the easy, but we are promised trials and tribulation, hard and hurtful even. Let’s look first at this verse from Hebrews 5 concerning Jesus. Hebrews 5:7-10 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries of tears to the one who could save him from death, and was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be the high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
I think all of us can agree that Jesus suffered greatly for us. He was beaten, hair ripped out, mocked, scourged, laughed at, a crown of thorns pushed down on his head, and hung on a cruel cross until his very life-blood flowed out. This was not an ordinary beating, there were jagged lead tips that inflicted the maximum pain and tearing away of flesh. By the time Jesus was hung on the cross, he would have been unrecognizable I would say. Weak and gasping for air, unable to raise himself due to the spikes in his wrists and feet. It was a cruel, and horrible death. Jesus’ answer to this was to seek strength and help from His Father, and he submitted to the Father’s will completely.
Jesus was the only person who has ever lived a perfect sinless life. He did nothing to deserve the cruel death that he suffered, and he endured it all, even asking the Father to forgive those who had done these cruel things. But what is our response to life’s trials? All too often we whimper and complain about the hard things of life. We compare our sufferings with others. We look for ways out of it, we want it to end sooner than later, or better yet, not have it at all!
We were made perfect before the Father when we were born-again. But, we must also be made holy. And the things we go through in this life are molding and shaping us into the people God wants us to be. We do not and cannot skip this process, no matter how much we wish we could. I’ll admit, I don’t like the hard places of life. I sometimes find myself saying, enough Lord, please enough. All too often people struggle to stay steadfast in their walk with the Lord.
In James 1:12 we read: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Did you catch that? If we remain steadfast, close to the Lord, leaning into Him even in the hard, we WILL receive the crown of life. Sounds good so far!
What else do we read in scripture? Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Are you rejoicing through your trials? Are you remaining hopeful, when all is going wrong? Are you praying? Sometimes it is hard to pray, but as my pastor is always reminding us, we do not always need words to pray. Sitting quietly before the Lord with our mess is prayer in itself. It is an exercise of faith. So, when words fail, just sit, be quiet and wait for Him.
We read in 1 Peter 5:10 these wonderful words: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
What a wonderful promise. When we have remained steadfast, hopeful, prayerful, and patient during our hard times, we WILL be restored, strengthened, and established by our Lord. These things are not meant to crush us beyond repair but are meant to press us, squeeze us out of us. We are being made more like Jesus, we are becoming Holy through the things we suffer through when we submit to Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short. We each have broken every commandment in thought or deed. And because of this without Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we cannot enter into heaven and God’s perfect Holiness. Jesus submitted wholeheartedly to his Father’s plan. He suffered and endured such horrible things for us.
I do not always suffer well, but I want to. I want to be so surrendered to Jesus that I DO NOT COUNT THE COST of following him. I want to remain so prayerful, that my natural immediate response to the trials of life is to RUN TO HIM IN PRAYER. I want that crown of life I have been promised. I want to be PATIENT IN SUFFERING. I want to COUNT IT ALL JOY as we read in James 1:2 and I even want to get to that place where I REJOICE IN MY SUFFERING according to Romans 5:3. I want to remember that God’s word tells me this: ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD! Not some, ALL, Romans 8:28.
How do we do this, we READ GOD’S WORD! WE PRAY CONTINUALLY, We SUBMIT TO GOD, and we KEEP OUR EYES ON JESUS AND THE PRIZE BEFORE US, and lastly, WE REMEMBER THIS IS TEMPORARY, WE BELONG TO ANOTHER PLACE, THIS IS NOT OUR HOME, and HE HAS PROMISED TO SEE US THROUGH!
I pray that each of you will surrender your right to be offended by the way God works out His plan for your life. That as trials and those things of this life that are hard, will lead you to your knees, looking up, patiently enduring, becoming holy as He is holy. No, we are not promised an easy time, but we are promised to be held, loved, lifted, and restored, strengthened, and brought through. His plans are perfect, even when they do not feel perfect. His ways are perfect and can be trusted. He never gives us too much!
Here are a few more scriptures you may want to read:
1 Corinthians 10:13
Remember, read your bible and pray, Pray and read your bible : )