Friday, August 20, 2010

When Troubles Won't Go Away...[165]

Remember when you were little, how your arms and legs were always freckled with bruises? Being a child meant having a body that was a constantly changing configuration of cuts, scrapes and contusions. But even as adults, we still make mistakes and 'scrape out knees.' We get the wind knocked out of us by unfaithful marriage partners, crippling accidents or a sudden death of someone close. We may have traded climbing trees for climbing corporate ladders, but it still hurts when we fall. We don't cut our fingers much anymore, but we do hurt from cutting remarks that leave us bleeding on the inside. Nowadays it's our hearts, not our arms and legs, that are mottled with the blue-and-black marks of troubles. The day's cuts, burns and spills leave behind painful emotional welts.

Adversity - it besets us all. A battered and melancholy Job sighed...

Even David, who enjoyed an enviable closeness with God confessed...
And Paul explained...
There are numerous ideas being tossed around regarding trials. Some people believe they're a form of punishment from God. Others dangle the promise before us that if we can just reach a certain level of maturity, trials will disappear and we'll live happily ever after; life will be one big spiritual Disneyland. And still others are out there trying to convince us that there's really no such thing as adversity. Trials such as death, pain and sickness are a figment of our imagination.

James, however, has something quite different to say about trials.
  1. ...They are inevitable - "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..." [ James 1:2]
  2. ... They have purpose... but before we can grasp what that purpose is, we've got to give up viewing troubles as simply bothersome offenses and start seeing them as tests - tests specifically designed by God to stretch our faith, not simply our pocketbooks, friendships or health. "...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." [James 1:3-4]
Trials can strip away everything but our attitude towards them. Three key elements that form the attitude God desires us to choose when we face trial:
  1. To consider - The Christian mindset, going into a trial, is to be positive but not advocating us to deny the pain and sorrow we feel in the midst of a trial. Count it all joy..
  2. To know - Tests are designed by God for good, not evil. The heat of the furnace is not designed to make us crack, but to solidify His character in us.
  3. To let - Give in to testing, allow it to do its job in our lives and participate in the lessons the trial brings to teach us
All of us know what it's like to flunk in a trial. We remember the wrong responses - resistant attitude, temper tantrums demanding instant relief - that have advanced nothing but our immaturity and misery.
The reason why our troubles often get the best of us is due to the:
  1. Lack of wisdom - the ability to view a test from God's perspective. Without this kind of wisdom, the ability to endure becomes elusive and the goal of maturity may never be reached.
  2. Lack of faith - a sustaining faith that involves complete abandonment to God and His purposes in our trials.
For someone to whom wisdom just doesn't get through - that person's called "double-minded".
A double-minded person is someone who wants his or her own will and God's at the same time. Someone who, down inside, still has reservations about being completely yielded to God.
Promises to those who handle problems correctly:
  1. Happiness... blessed... genuinely happy
  2. The crown of life... the crown of a rich and full life to be enjoyed here and now.
The only bruise that never heals is the loss of hope - the loss of confidence that adversities are purposeful, not random, meaningless cruelties.
Take a step back and PRAISE GOD...

Trust God's promise...

Wait expectantly for God's intervention into our troubled situations...

~ He who has a WHY to live can bear with almost any HOW ~

James 1:2-12 (New International Version)

Trials and Temptations
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

9The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

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