When “Yes, Lord” Means A Trial

*Today, we are pleased to publish a guest post by another one of our good friends!*

Natalie! Please! Make it stop, it hurts too much!” my phone read as the screen illuminated, thus throwing shadows against my wall and near my bed. Still awake, my eyes struggled to focus on the text notification in my blackened bedroom. After a few minutes of talking to my friend, I had given the best encouragement I could and was virtually holding her until my body crashed for the night and I had fallen asleep. Never before had I felt heart break over my friend…..“Why her? God, what is your plan with this pain she’s in?” As these questions repeated themselves in my mind, I was hit with one answer…..”Why not?”

After waking up a few hours later and rereading our conversation, I sat there. Pondering on that answer, I thought back over the “Series of Unfortunate Events” that have happened in my life in the past few years. Now, I know that my life is far from perfect and is not free of struggles by any means…from the loss of two grandparents back to back, to my own health struggles, there was always something every year that my family was hit with. And at times, these events made me wonder where I stood in my faith. But I was reminded of James’ letter to the early church. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NASB)

Joy? I gave Jesus my life in total surrender to Him in order to share the good news of His coming, not to be affected by trials. Joy?

Yes. Joy. You see, when Jesus first gave the Great Commission to the disciples, he also told them that the servant wouldn’t be greater than his master. Therefore, if Jesus was tested and tried during his three year ministry, so would we for our Christian faith. The difference between us and the rest of the world is that we know the trials or “tests” that we find ourselves in are temporary. Therefore, there’s an end to them at some point. But we also need to let God work with us and through us while we are in those trials because they are the only ones that we personally can bear. I think of the Wall of Faith in Hebrews 11: yes, God used those men and women because they were ordinary, but He also used them because of their faith in God and in what He had planned.

And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  Or as my friend and I both know, when “Yes, Lord” means a trial.

~Natalie

Disclosing More of Him

“Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’” -John 11:40

Ok.  Have you ever had a time when you were frustrated?  No, wait- downright angry at a situation?  I am taking a class in school this year that has really been “testing my patience.”  I want to do my best, and yet it seems like it’s still not good enough.  Been there before?

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Seeing Though I Can’t

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” -Isaiah 43:2

God is in control.

Most of us would agree with that statement. But it’s funny how agreeing with something is completely different than living it out!

I recently made a collegiate soccer team, and while it was never something that I lived for, I counted it (and still do) as such a blessing from the Lord. Well, practice started, and by the end of the first week, a ligament in my foot was sending strong signals that something wasn’t right. I knew I’d have to sit out at least a couple days of practice, and probably more depending on what the injury was. I kept telling myself that it’d just be a few days. Yet, those few days would pass with little or no improvement. I’d then convince myself that returning back to practice was right around the corner. This occurred a couple times, but instead of thinking I’d have to take 1-2 days off at a time, it turned into a whole week off. And then another one. Continue reading

Trust [Part 2/2]

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

-Matthew 6:25-33

This is one of the most common passages regarding trust and it is so rich! It is when Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell all his goods and give to the poor. In this one profound statement, Jesus was not only telling him that he could not serve Him and the world at the same time, but also that you have to completely trust in Jesus to supply all your needs. Continue reading

Trusting During Trials

stormy sea

“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before him; God is a refuge for us.”
Psalm 62:8

Life is a journey. During that journey, there will be trials. Many people believe that when you become a Christian, life will be easy and filled with only good things. First Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” So according to the Bible, a life with no trials is far from the truth.

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How to: Survive the Hard Stuff

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Our church has been going through a lot of difficult things lately. There have been countless health issues, several miscarriages, and now a man with brain cancer. Yet through it all, our church has been drawing closer to God through all of these circumstances.

There are several verses that we have been holding on to through these trials, and I would like to share some of them below. I hope and pray that if you are going through a tough time, these verses can help you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This has been really tough for all of us to do during these difficulties that seem to keep on comin’! Yet through it all, even with those who have been directly affected, our body has grown tremendously in the faith and trust that Christ gives us. This past Sunday, the man who had been diagnosed with brain cancer came up front to share with everyone what had been going on. And the whole time, he was praising God. I’m not joking. He was up there giving glory and honor to Christ, not even focusing on himself. He was focused on how our church body had blessed him, and he was focused on the great witness we presented to the doctors and nurses.

One more verse I would like to share comes from James 1:3, For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” No matter what circumstances we are going through, our faith is being tested and our endurance is growing. We are (hopefully) using these trials to become more like Christ.

I like how the story about gold refinement relates to this. Gold is beautiful and expensive. Yet, it must go through intense heat and fire to separate the impurities from the gold. Our faith works the same way. God uses difficulties to refine us so we can know Him better.

Do not be discouraged! Take heart, for Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33). In everything, give thanks. To take a line from the movie Facing the Giants, “We praise Him when we win, and we praise Him when we lose.”

 

In Christ,

Christopher