Monday 15th December 2008 Devotion
After Tribulation, What next?
Romans 8:18-39; Isaiah 40:31
The year is quickly coming to an end and I know that everyone of us can give a testimony of how the Lord has been faithful to us in diverse ways. Personally, as I remember the word that God gave me at the beginning of the year, I reflect back and I can surely say that God is my Ebenezer. Some things that have happened, I couldn’t have done them on my own, but God has remained faithful even in times when we have been unfaithful to him.
I know you can bear me witness that the sail hasn’t been smooth and sweet all along the way. There have been tribulations, tests and trials here and there till to some point you may have asked a question just as I did one time; I asked God, Are you really involved in all this?? I don’t know how it has been for you whether you reached such a point in your life. The good and encouraging thing is that despite all that, God has been there for us and we still remain in his love.
Paul the servant of God speaking to the Romans asks them; what or who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? All of us at one point or another have gone through these challenges and we were/are on the verge of almost giving up in life and we think that God is nowhere near us. This is actually the time that he is near us the most. These things, i.e. trials, temptations name them; they all come with a purpose. James says that “God will never allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear” 1 Corinthians 10:13 some come to rebuke us, encourage and strengthen us, teach us and enlighten us in the walk of faith.
If we look at the apostles, none of them didn’t pass through a hard time but they all kept their faith. None of them except John died a normal death; some were crucified on X crosses, sawn into two, beheaded and even the martyrs of the early church all faced these challenges yet they were steady in their faith. Sometimes we pass through trying times and we are easily overcome by the situation. Paul says that “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. Romans 8:18-19. Through these trials, God manifests himself and when we are through, we come out refined and we are revealed as the sons of God thus he receives all the Glory.
There are benefits in trials. You may wonder what do I gain when I am passing through hard and tough times in my life; but there are several things that God develops in us when we are passing through these trials, hardships and sufferings: Looking at James 1:2-16, we see the following:
a) Patience/Endurance/perseverance – vs. 2-4 when we pass through trial and temptations, James tells us that the testing of our faith produces patience. Patience is very vital in our Christian walk since we have to bear much through this walk of faith. Jesus when praying for the disciples said that he knew that the world would not love us but He prayed that God would give us grace and patience to endure all. When patience has fully grown in us, it completes the work thus nothing is left. Patience is the mother of all virtues. You can’t love if you are not patient. When someone hurts you again and again, it is hard to love that person but you need to bear the hurt and in the long run due to the patience you have with the person, love grows ups for the same person.
b) Dependence on God – vs. 5-6 During this time that we are undergoing hard times, many of us tend to think that God has deserted us. I tend to differ with that in some way… I might be wrong but I stand to be corrected, James says that it is our faith being tested and our dependence on God is one of the aspects that entail our faith in God. Many are the times when we think God has deserted us and we run to seek help in other sources… this is lack of wisdom and as James says, we should ask God for wisdom. When we turn to God to ask of his wisdom, it shows that on our own we can’t do anything and thus we wholly depend on him for guidance and help.
c) We develop stable and focused faith/mind – vs. 7-8 James says that for us to receive anything from God, we should not have double minds. This implies that when in our trials we turn to God, we should not have alternatives incase God doesn’t answer our prayers in our favour; but many of us have second alternatives incase it doesn’t work out the way we thought it would be. God demands full dependence, faith and trust in Him alone and not divided attention. As much as a human being would hate to have somebody give him divided attention, that’s the same feeling God has when we are double minded.
d) Humility – vs. 9-10 Trials sometimes come to show us our flaws and point them out for us to deal with ourselves. Sometimes God will use a situation in your life to show you something that you may need to deal with in your life. God reminds us that we are like a flower; so bright in the morning but as the sun rises up, the flower withers. So does our lives… we exalt ourselves at some point in life but when passing through a certain season in our lives, God humbles us until the vice of pride in us withers down.
e) Elevation/reward/Approval – vs. 12 blessed is the man who endures the trials because there is a reward for him. In schools, after every term, there comes an assessment test to check whether you understood whatever you were taught and when you pass the test, you are approved to advance because you have qualified in the previous lesson or term. The same case to God, before He blesses you, he prepares you for what He has in store for you and when He is almost blessing you, He might decide to test you and see whether you are ready for his blessing. Remember Jacob wrestling with the angel? When the angle saw that Jacob would not let him go, he had to bless him… same to us, we have to hold on with God and prove to him that we are ready for his blessings in lives. The crown of glory is the promise that every one of us yearns to have when Christ comes back.
In the light of this, let us not complain when we pass though trials but instead, let us get to see beyond the trials and ask God to let us know what He intends of us through what we are passing and I know that when we know God’s mind in our trials, we will be able to hold on, persevere and receive the crown of life which is our promised rewards.
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