Some of us assume that if God is with us, we won’t struggle through troubles or trials. When “bad” things happen or we hit a rough stretch, we might even think God is abandoning us.
We learned last time in James 1:2-4 that the main purpose of struggling through trials in our lives is to mature us. We should expect trials to come and expect to struggle during trials.
But does God abandon us in our trials? Several examples in the Bible demonstrate that, despite our feelings, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. In Psalm 25, we see King David struggling mightily in a trial, calling out to God as his enemies were pursuing him. In the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before Jesus died, we even see Him struggling when He was praying. But during those trials, through those intense emotional periods, there was one common theme: they kept in communication with God the Father in prayer.
God did not abandon them during their trials, and God does not abandon us during our trials. Trials are tough, they are a challenge, and they can bring us to our knees – but make sure they bring us to our knees in order to pray, and reach out to God, to help us persevere, and not crumble. God does not abandon us in our trials. He is with us, patiently helping us to persevere and mature.
There is also a bigger perspective to consider when it comes to trials in our lives. Look at the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.
Is Paul kidding when he uses words like “light” and “momentary”? Doesn’t he understand the pain and intensity of our trials? Guess what: he was imprisoned, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, and robbed. Many of us haven’t even experienced one of those things. But for Paul, it was a matter of comparison. He saw his trials in the context of eternity. Compared with the joy of being with Jesus in eternity, his worst days, and toughest trials were “light and momentary”. He knew our time on earth and our trials are temporary, and eternity is forever. Paul knew that his suffering was purposeful, and eternal life was certain.
Trials are tough, and we’ll face them the rest of our lives. Know that God doesn’t abandon us as we struggle; He is developing us. Reach out to Him in prayer during trials, asking for the wisdom to persevere. Although difficult, it’s important to keep the eternal perspective that trials are temporary, and God is using them to mature us mentally, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually.
An audio version of my message on this topic can be found at: http://cornerstonelacrosse.org/media.php?pageID=9 dated 11/15/15.
Image credit: www.marcandangel.com