Enduring Trials with Christ
I had the song I was going to write about for Music Monday today all planned out. It’s another of my favorite Third Day songs called 40 Days. It’s a song that I quoted in my Thankful Thursday poem last week. When I found the video to include in this post on YouTube, I discovered that I had the lyric that I quoted in my poem wrong! I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been singing this song for years and I always thought the last line of the chorus was “You bought me for a reason.” But it turns out it is “You brought me for a reason.”
This doesn’t really change what I was going to write about. On the one hand, the lyric as I thought it was says that Jesus bought us with His blood for a reason, for a purpose. On the other hand, the lyric as it really is says that Jesus brought us through each trial for a reason, for a purpose. So the bottom line is still that God has a purpose for me and you. He has a reason for what happens in our lives. The reason is that He wants to bring us closer to Him.
People go through all types of trials in this life. No one is immune, even if from the outside it looks as if their life is charmed. The variety and depth of trials is endless. Some trials last 40 days, like Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness. Others last 40 years, like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. For some people, it seems like there is one trial after another, a never-ending struggle just to survive.
One person endures cancer and the pain of chemotherapy, a cure that often seems worse than the disease. Another mourns for a wayward child or sibling who has become addicted to drugs, or is mentally ill, and is living on the streets. Still another loses a long-term job that they thought was secure and can no longer pay the bills and support their family.
Some trials are seemingly not so devastating, but can be just as difficult for those enduring them. There is the wife whose husband works late night after night, leaving her lonely and afraid. There is the CEO who, try as he might, cannot seem to deal effectively with a problem manager. There is the teenage girl who has put on too much weight and feels she will never be beautiful again.
The list goes on, but just thinking about the many trials people struggle with breaks my heart. But what breaks my heart even more is that so many go through these trials without hope and without a purpose. They have no idea that they are not alone. They are unaware that there is a Savior and a Friend who longs to comfort and strengthen them in whatever circumstance they face.
This life is not easy, and it is a tragedy that so many people think it is essential that they go it alone and in their own strength. We were not made for self-reliance. We were made to rely on God.
Trying to endure trials alone is like trying to make your car run without gas. It’s like trying to light a candle without a flame. It’s like trying to water flowers with an empty watering can.
If I choose to push God away because He has allowed a given trial in my life, then I rob myself of the one source of strength that can truly get me through that trial in better shape spiritually than I was when it started. If, on the other hand, I turn to God for help in my trial, then when it feels like I’ve reached the end of my rope I will find that He is there for me and that I have grown closer to Him in the process.
Are you facing a trial today? Does it seem like you’ve been struggling with this trial for 40 days, or maybe even 40 years, and you don’t know where to turn? Ask God for strength and believe that He will give you what you need. He knows your heart and He weeps that it is breaking now. His greatest purpose is to mend your broken heart and to bring you closer to Him. There is no need to endure trials alone when you can endure them with Christ to strengthen you.
Words from an old hymn that came to mind as I read –
“Never a trial that He is not there:
Never a burden that He does not share”
And your words – “We were not made for self-reliance. We were made to rely on God.”
I am sure that, like me, you can look back on previous troubles and praise God for them, because God used them “grow” us. He never sends the trouble, but He uses it for His own purpose: that of teaching us to trust Him and maturing us more and more into Christlikeness.
What an amazing God!
“Through Christ we can do ALL things!” I always look at the various trials we face as God carving us out into more of His image and increasing our faith and trust in Him.