Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Complicated or Challenging?

If you are human you are facing some kind of trial today. Are all trials tests? Do all trials teach us something? If we are seeking Christ on every level, yes, those trials will test our faith. If we are surrendering to Christ and opening our heart to Him on every level, then yes, we are teachable. I don't think there is anything in life that cannot teach us something of value.

If we live each day searching for all God has for us, it kind of changes our perspective on every facet of life. Doesn't it? We can choose to see the glass half full instead of half empty. But either way, it's only half, so that means there is room for more, right? Isn't there always more room for God?

We fill our lives with such stuff. Stuff that really has no lasting impact on our life. Stuff that we think we need today will soon end up on a table at a yard sale. What if we changed our perspective on what we needed? What if we focused more on the need instead of the want? Even more so, what if we focused on God and trusted Him with the need? You think He then would bless us with some of those wants?

Life will always have tribulations. As one passes and we jump over that hurdle, soon there will be another to face. We have a choice to look at life as being hard and complicated, or we can look at life as being filled with opportunities and challenges.

What are facing today? Each of us are facing many different trials. We are all on different paths. Different journeys in our walk with Christ. Some days we are closer to Him than ever and others we move a little southward away from Him. The thing we must remember is, He never moves. He is constant. As He stands firm, we tend to be the ones in constant motion. We lose our way by simply taking our eyes off Him. The moment we take our focus off of Him we give room for Satan to take a stronghold in our life. He knows those weak areas. He knows where we struggle. He too knows just what it takes to bring us down to that low point where we feel like giving up.

I have been there in that dark room. Total silence around me. The only sound is my crying. Maybe too, my heart beating in overtime as I worry. As I wonder. As I try to grasp hold of understanding. We face such tribulations and we think we are all alone. We feel all alone at times, don't we? No one understands. Everyone is judging. No one is calling. I think that is the crux of it all. We search for what we need in people and many times they just cannot give us what we need. We expect others to understand. Maybe reach out to us. But they don't. We call and no one answers.

There is One who has faced trial, test, and tribulation. Jesus Christ knows our pain all too well. He knows what that cup looks like when your holding it in your hand. He knows that feeling of the judgement of others. He knows the feeling of being alone when you have called on friends to pray for you. Have your friends left your side? He too knows that pain. Do you carry scars of pain that others have caused? Our Savior carries them too.

We must look to Christ for our needs. If we turn to Him for all things, He will make us complete in Him. He can love us like no other. He has the power to forgive and wash us with grace. He brings mercy with His love. He wraps His comforting arms around us. Only He can give us a peace that covers all confusion. There is no misunderstandings in Christ. He is Truth. When in that dark room filled with cries. He will bring light.

"God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain." C.S. Lewis

"Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope." That is the order. You cannot put patience and experience into a parenthesis, and, omitting them, bring hope out of tribulation." Alexander MacLaren

His Word is our gift for this journey. He has equipped us with everything we need for the ride. In the quietness of our pain may we listen for His soft whisper of hope. One of the most powerful verses for me while going through tribulation is Romans 5:3-5 "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Our trials are of value to us. Each one teaches us and prepares us for the next. That is why it is so important to change our focus into seeing them for what they are. Opportunities and challenges that bring us closer to Christ and closer to who He has called us to be.

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:2-8

"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12

If you are like me, it is hard to let go of everything. We so want to fix things, don't we? It's easy to become angry and bitter when trial after trial comes to our door knocking. We would rather act as if no one is home. Maybe then it would pass by. But then, even so, it moves on to our neighbor. No one is out of reach of tribulation. If we haven't faced it yet, we will. In those times that peace is flowing our way, tribulation is touching another. As much as we want prayer, we too must lift others up in prayer. Prayer is our way of staying in touch with God. It's our source of communication.

Even though I don't like it, I am learning to embrace tribulation. It seems I am a slow learner, but the Lord is teaching me when I surrender to Him and trust Him with all, His promises never fail me. When faced with trial it's okay to ask why. In fact, we should. In asking why we must open our heart for God's answer. We must be ready to take action or to be still. We must be willing to say, "Yes, Lord." It's His will that we must be searching for. It is in His will that we will find what this world cannot offer. The Holy Spirit will prepare us for all those challenges ahead and open doors of opportunity for us to then bring glory, honor and praise to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
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