There’s a common myth that our Christian lives are filled with blessings and all of our struggles are left behind. Of course, those of us who have been following Jesus for more than a few years, know all too well this is simply not the case. The life of a believer is filled with ups and downs, blessings and trials, good times and difficult times. This is God’s design. Nothing is gained from a life without struggle. God uses various challenges in our lives as tools to help us grow stronger and build up our endurance.
“Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
God places trials in our lives to test our faith. God wants us to learn to depend on Him rather than our own talents and resources. We all have a natural tendency to try and fix things in life on our own by opening up our bank account, leaning on our own special abilities, or trusting the personal connections we’ve cultivated with the power of our personalities. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) When we trust these things more than we trust God, they have become an idol to us. God wants us to humble ourselves before him, realizing that all of our resources and talents were gifts from His hand. We need to keep in mind that God can take away His gifts if He believes they have become a source of pride that is disrupting our relationship with Him.
All of us who have been traveling with the Lord for more than a few years, can cite a number of difficulties that were clearly resolved by God’s hand. These surprising solutions seem to come out of nowhere and have God’s signature written all over them. God loves us deeply and wants us to rest completely in the understanding that we are not self-sufficient – God is in complete control. “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4) God’s primary desire is that we let go of our self-control and wholeheartedly accept His eternal support. God will care for us and sustain us in the best possible way when we relinquish our personal pride in favor of complete devotion to Him.
It takes perseverance to accept difficult situations without giving up. Our trust in God to ultimately correct the problem is the fuel of that perseverance. If we are impatient and move ahead on our own initiative, we are essentially rejecting God. God’s timing is always best. God uses adversity to build our character, reveal our strengths and weaknesses, and point us in a new direction. You can be certain these are lessons worth learning. When our lives take a difficult turn, we have to resist the urge to go it alone and trust God, not ourselves.
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