Be Encouraged When You Face Trials of Many Kinds

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            “Sometimes you think you won’t survive, but eventually you see ‘it was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn His statutes.’  Are you going through a difficult situation, a trial?  Does it feel like more than you can bear?  It is not.  The situation, whatever its shape or form, is designed to make you, not destroy you.  It has been permitted by God to mold you into the image of His Son rather than disfigure you for life.  God doesn’t test us to see if we’ll fail but to show us how strong we are.  He does it for the sake of proving us, and He wants us to score a hundred on the exam!    Remember, my friend: whatever this trial, whatever this difficulty, it is not more than you can bear.  Why is that true?  How do I know?  Because God has promised this, and God cannot lie….‘No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.’  The Greek words translated here as ‘temptation’ and ‘tempted’ have the broader meaning of trial or testing…. these will never be more than I can bear!  If they were, God would not permit them…. along with that trial or test or temptation, He will also make a way of escape.  And His way of escape is not to lift us by the scruff of the neck, as we would pick up a kitten, and move us out.  No, the way of escape is that He will be in us and with us; therefore, His grace will be sufficient for anything that comes our way.  No matter what happens to us, God has totally and completely and absolutely equipped and prepared us for it.  So I’m not to fight these afflictions I encounter, the trials and disappointments, the oppressions, these humbling situations.  God is in perfect control of them, and in His perfect design, He’s permitted them to teach me to act rather than react.  He has me in training.”  –Kay Arthur in “As Silver Refined,” 1997

 

            God is sovereign.  That is the lesson He is trying to teach me now.  I tend to worry about the future.  I can see the moral, spiritual, political, and economical choices that people make, that our beloved country is making, that the world is making, and I freak because I can see what the consequences will be for these choices.  I see how these choices are going to affect my future children, our country, the world, and me.  And it does not look pretty. As a U.S. Senator put it: “[Great] civilizations have progressed (if that’s the right word) through the following stages: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, [and] from apathy back to bondage.” If you are not concerned after reading that, there is something wrong.

You can see this progress in America. We began in bondage to England and her rule, then, many came to the New World looking for freedom to express their spiritual faith (this is not the only reason they came, but for many it was). For several hundred years, people found ways to express their beliefs and events such as the Great Awakening augmented this stage of our history. Afterwards, we moved into the stage of courage. We fought England and gained our independence, transmitting us to the next phase–liberty. After we gained our independence (and even before) we became a wealthy nation, full of abundance. I believe this stage lasted to sometime after we became an industrialized society. Our abundance caused many to transform into selfish, greedy predators who would do anything to climb the ladder of success. This selfishness has led to our complacency–we no longer care that the division between to rich and poor and middle classes grows farther apart every day. It no longer phases us that other peoples’ selfish motives have consequences that hurt others. We are okay with the status quo. We do not want to rock the boat or challenge our societal norms. We are so close to being apathetic that, if this prediction is true, which I think it is, we will soon be held in bondage once again.

 

These are the reasons why I freak and have difficulty trusting God’s sovereignty. For example, there is legislation on the table in the U.N. (which, for those of you who do not know this, we are an active part in the U.N.) to prohibit people from worshipping God (make Christianity illegal) and there are laws that are being formed that state that the government can take care of our children better than we can and that they will be in control our kids education, health, religious views, among every other aspect of their lives [i.e. the Pre-K Act (HR 3289) and the Education Begins at Home Act (HR 2343)]. However, God is in control.  He has already been in the future and He knows what will happen.  He will not let anything happen that He as not already approved.  I just have to keep that in mind and trust God to take care of my future no matter what happens. As hard as it is, I will try, with God’s help, to “consider what God has done: who can straighten what he has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14).” How could I just praise God for the good times and not the bad? Both days are the Lord’s and belong solely to Him. He simply gives me the grace and breath to share in those days with Him. If only I were not human and could get this through my thick, stubborn head.

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