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17 July 2008

Putting Ourselves Through Trials

I was reading through some of my older posts last night and latched onto one called "Returning to Disgorged Matter" (probably because it mentions Proverbs 26:11) The key verse from that post goes right along with a verse I've just read this morning in a totally separate reading event: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. " (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

And here's the key verse from the previous post: "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." (James 1:2-3, NLT)

I want to focus again on the point that was made in the old post. Whenever the extremely tough times come along, one of the first things I ask myself is, "Is this my own fault?" Many times, the unfortunate answer is, "Yes!" Sometimes we're thrust into the middle of a situation that's out of our control, but sometimes, on the other hand, we prepare our bed, make it, jump into it, and then bemoan our pitiful circumstances. It hurts to realize that we're at fault, doesn't it? It's rarely something we want to know or see, and it is far, far easier to blame someone else or to wonder why God is allowing such a bad thing to happen to us.

Whatever the case -- if the problem is of our own making or if it's an uncontrollable situation -- "Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on Whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for Him, He thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and He is now seated at the right side of God's throne." (Hebrews 12:2, TEV)

Make way for God to use the "bad" in your life to teach you the good.


Melissa said...

It's weird because I actually just mentioned something along these lines in my blog the other day. We had been studying about the oppressed and the oppressors in Psalm 129 and after breaking it down, I saw a lot of different things in a new light.

What I'm thankful for, though, is the fact that even if my oppression, trials and tough times have been ultimately brought on by myself, we still have a Father who is loyal, willing to love us anyway, forgive when we are repentant and never leave us in the midst of these trials. Without that, I would be hopeless!

Dean Lusk said...

I totally agree. The phrase, "God is faithful even when I am not" has become very meaningful to me. I had a day this week when I was working on the deck (that's a perpetual task, apparently) that I had to sing "Great is Thy Faithfulness," because I looked around me at the sky, trees, my house, etc., thought of my family and how much grace God has poured out on me and those around me, and was pretty much overwhelmed.

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