“I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”
Psalms 30:1-5 NKJV
God brings about His work in the life of the believer though many means. One would like to think that one would learn through blessing, but in reality, it is the pain of refinement that brings the deepest learning.
There are times when it seems as if those who are not the Lord’s can get away with everything. It is like the wicked prosper, and world applauds their efforts. By comparison, the life of the believer in refinement, can seem as if nothing voices right. In my own experience, I have found that I get away with nothing, bearing the temporal consequences of my sin.
Just as the world applauds the evil man when he wins, they revile the righteous man when he fails.
In those dark moments it is easy to become downtrodden and struggle with whether God loves us or not. Often we perceive the pain of the moment, but we are not able to see the work being done in us through it. As I have matured, I have learned to see the divine method in what I perceive to be God’s madness. Through my struggles, He is perfecting me. Those who rejoice in my pain, have no idea of the joy that is to come, of the newness that is being birthed through trial. They only see the mourning.
“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.”
James 1:2-4 NKJV
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
I Peter 3:15-17 NKJV
In the face of trial, it is normal to struggle and tell of the great pain, but we know as believers, that God is for us and will leave us or forsake us. I have come to realize that trial is an opportunity to show the love and compassion of God.
As I often remind others, we are being watched by hurting people looking for answers. How we endure under pressure can be a great witness of the difference that the Lord makes.
We know that what suffering we endure is for our good, and ultimately, for the good of the Gospel, as no one lives in a vacuum. We are on mission, people sent into the world to make disciples. We know that standing for Christ will bring pain, but we also know that the pain will will give way to the work of the Lord. It all works out for the glory of God.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
Romans 8:28-30 NKJV
The trials we endure are just one more step along the path to maturity as God makes us useful for His purpose in the here and now and in eternity to come. He will complete His work.
Even as we face the struggles of this present time, let us not revile against the revilers. Let us remember that the Lord came to save them too. May we pray for those who seek to harm us, those who seek to slander us, those who would love nothing more than to cause us to stumble.
Let us focus on the long game and remember that the grief will give way to joy. And one day there will be no more trials, and no more tears. The joy will come morning, and will be ever more.
“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.””
Revelation 21:3-4 NKJV
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