Day 22 of 40! J
Purpose #3: You were created to become like Christ.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NLT)
3-5All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
6-7When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (MSG)
Sometimes life just throws a curveball your way.
You think to yourself, wait… I don’t get it. God, this wasn’t supposed to happen this way!
But did He ever say life was gonna be easy?
Did he say he’d never leave you or forsake you?
YES! Never ever will he leave your side.
Sometimes it may not feel like he’s there… but like I said last night, don’t base life on feelings.
One time I was going through something and God felt so entirely distant that I couldn’t see how he was working things out for good AT all.
I was so discouraged that I looked up at the sky and complained, “Even the stars aren’t out!” (stars are my favourite things… the Bible says God just “made the stars also”. As if something so magnificent were an afterthought to the sky. I like to think he made them just to astound us.)
My best friend, Annette, was there at the time – just being the beautiful, encouraging person that she is. She leaned over and said, “The stars are still there… it just takes more faith!”
It’s the same way with God.
We can’t see him… can’t even see him working a lot of times.
During the hardest times in life we can’t even feel his presence.
But He promises never to leave us.
Anything hard that happens in life is a result of his love for us.
He doesn’t want us to stay the same miserable people, so he keeps bringing us hard times to work out all the sinful nature, to trust Him more, and to ultimately become more like Jesus.
Like anything else in life, we can’t do this on our own strength.
We need the Holy Spirit living and vibrant inside of us to be able to get through these trials.
The trials aren’t meant to burn us and make us useless, but instead God intends to refine us, like gold.
When gold is refined in the fire, all the impurities float to the surface and are then able to be taken out. This is the only way to achieve the result of pure gold. And trials are the only way to achieve the pure image of Christ we are called to carry.
Why would we complain about trials as if something strange were happening to us?
All God wants to do is purify us into the beautiful people He has created us to be.
So many times we try to avoid hardships, but it is in that moment of desperation that we find we have nowhere else to turn to except our Heavenly Father.
No matter what you’re going through right now, remember – God has a reason for everything.
Building character is part of the journey.
And we are never alone.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4 (MSG)
In closing… a thought on trials and building character from a beautiful young woman: Ginny Owens.
“It’s never the trial that makes us stronger… it’s what we choose to do with that trial. If we choose to lay that at the foot of the cross and say, ‘Lord, I give this to you.’ And also if you choose to know that He has us exactly where we’re supposed to be.”
- Ginny Owens.