Ever go through one of those periods when it seems that Satan and a cadre of demons have targeted you and your household? Then when you think it cannot get worse, it does. And when you think you surely have reached the end of your endurance, even more bizarre and unprecedented troubles come falling upon you like a hoard of angry hornets? You reach the point to where you are so overwhelmed that you begin to wonder what you did wrong to trigger such a deluge of woes. You wonder if you can endure more and if you will fail.
I cannot list all the trials that came tumbling down on Cheryl and me because a couple of them are very sensitive and have to remain private for the time being. Besides, I compare our difficulties to those of the persecuted Church and they always come up mild by comparison.
I can only say that even one of the incidents would be considered a difficult trial. All of them together has us amazed at God’s love and mercy in sustaining us. We have always faced the storms together and refused to yield to their rage. This time we were crushed together and yet supported by our Father’s strength.
We are still in the thick of the battle. All my time and energy for the past few weeks and until today has been focused on the battlefront. Or should I say battlefronts? This morning we are sequestered in our home trying to replenish our reserves.
One of my questions is as anyone else’s would be in our present tribulation. That is, “Why is this happening to me?” (Yes, there were tears and deep pain.) I do not mean to make light of people’s hardships. I do have much compassion and pray long periods for their needs to be met. However, there is an answer that offers greater consolation than the sympathetic words of a thousand friends.
The answer is, to purify, make us stronger, and to focus us more determinedly on the will of God. Further, it is to give us the confidence to perform some work of God that is outside of our comfort zone, beyond our confidence and abilities, and to the extent that we will be required to trust God beyond our past degree of trust.
That brings me to an essential component of the answer. A trial or trials reveal the strength and depth of our faith.
In the past, when God intended to use us in a greater work, He sent us through a very difficult trial. That occurs not because God needs to know the strength and depth of our faith, but that we need to know. A difficult trial or trials are a measurement that we can read and know the quality and quantity of our faith.
We will never read or even recognize the measurement if we focus on our pain, on the appearance of inequity in our suffering, on what we lost or are losing, or adopt a petulant attitude with God for chasing us out of our comfort zones.
We will never step out blindly with unknown faith. Before we push into the realm beyond our comfort zone, we must live by faith (not by sight) and from faith to faith. In a trial we should push, grow, strengthen, and know our faith by depending more heavily on it than ever. A trial awakens and deepens our faith. We know it because we use and can measure it for strength and viability.
We only read the measurement and refresh or increase confidence in God when we count it all joy to endure such adversity and conflict for HIs glory. If we cannot count it all joy, then our spiritual math is a bit fuzzy. We need to correct that issue before bad math turns into bad accounting.
A brutal beating, crown of thorns, a cross, three nails, and a sinless Savior, is a good place to start.
“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” – 1 Peter 2:19
“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” – 2 Corinthians 1:5-7