Romans 5:3, “We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance”
2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weighty of glory”
A believer in Christ isn’t exempt from problems, pain and trials. The Apostle Paul’s life story includes words such as hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down. If you were to read 2 Corinthians 11, you would read of beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, perils, weariness, hunger, and thirst. Now, perhaps you’re asking, “Why all this? Why did God permit such a load to be placed on the apostle?” Or you may say, “I’m glad Paul made it through his struggles, but what about the load I must carry?”
August Van Ryn, in his book Cheer Up, tells a story that may help answer this question. A delivery truck stopped at a house on a very wintry day. Snow and ice covered the front steps. As the driver ran up the stairs to tell the resident he had a delivery, he slipped and fell. Picking himself up, he rang the doorbell, returned to the truck, and picked up the heavy trunk he was to deliver to the home.
With its weight on his shoulders, he was able to walk up the steps without slipping. The load on his back not only weighted him down; it also kept him up. My brethren, many times our load may seem too oppressive and heavy to bear, but God is using it to keep us on a firm and solid footing. He is building our character to conform us to the image of His precious and dear Son, Jesus Christ.
Mathematical formulas work well with numbers, but not so well with people. That’s why the equation found in James 1 sounds unworkable: Faith + Trials = Patience. One might better try to mix oil and water. But what makes this formula work, is confidence in God’s unfailing love, which allows for all the human emotions that come with life’s trials. In Romans 5:3-4, the apostle Paul taught that life’s difficulties can produce godly character in us. When trials come into our life the first thing we usually do is complain.
However, instead of complaining remember that your troubles didn’t take God by surprise. He is still in control. Secondly, believe that God has a solution, a provision, or a gift of wisdom to match your difficulty. Then pray, affirming your faith in God and expressing your confidence in His loving purpose for you. Wait with expectancy and availability, trusting God to work out His most perfect will and praise Him before He even acts.
I’m mindful of Paul and Silas when they were imprisoned at Philippi and their backs were raw from beatings, they sang hymns (Acts 16:23-25). They chose the bright color of praise instead of the dark colors of depression, bitterness, complaining and despair. Thus, no matter what affliction or crisis we may face, we too can decide how we will respond as did Paul and Silas. My brethren, with the enablement of the Holy Spirit, we can refuse to paint our lives in the dull gray of grumbling and complaining. Instead, our chosen color can be and should be the azure blue of contentment knowing that our faith and trust is in hands of a loving, caring and powerful God.
The trials that we have each day
Are merely steppingstones,
And help us to rely on Him
And trust in Him alone. – Tolley
God sends trials not to impair us but to improve us.