What are you doing, God? This is not what I asked for!
What do we expect to happen when we ask God to bless our life? Lord, take my life and use me, draw me closer to You, make me more like Jesus! Does this prayer sound familiar? When we ask God for spiritual blessings, we expect to get “good” things, not troubles and trials. Right? It is just human nature to want to feel good and avoid pain or discomfort. However, according to Isaiah 55:9, God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. What we think is good and what God sees as beneficial for us are two different things. Although puzzling, many times God does exactly the opposite of what our finite human mind conceives should be. This is the Paradox of God’s Path. Our strength is made perfect in weakness! To live is to die! To lose our life is to save it! Jesus is a master at making something out of nothing. So count it all joy no matter what you are facing, and rest assured knowing that God is at work. Each trial you joyfully go through brings your life one step closer to reflecting the image of Christ!
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [trials];
– James 1:2
The flesh resists God!
Each of us (that have been born-again) is made up of two people: the old flesh man and the new spirit man. Depending on which man you feed and strengthen, the louder voice will be heard, and ultimately obeyed.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
– Romans 6:6
If not crucified, the old man challenges God’s motives, and will selfishly resist any discomfort. On the other hand, the new man submits to God and will recognize the eternal benefits of enduring troubles and trials far outweighs the costs of any temporary discomfort or pain.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory:
-II Corinthians 4:17
Even Christ “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). If Jesus suffered, should we expect anything less for our life? All the while we are struggling with that old nature, God wants to bring us to the point that we silence the old man, stop questioning God’s motives, and completely trust Him with our lives. Although our human frailty may not understand it, God wants to transform our flesh nature into the image of His dear Son, Jesus. This can only come through chastening, trials, and battles, so count it all joy!
Has God forsaken me?
Has your life ever gotten so out of control with turmoil and pain that you think God has abandoned you? David, battled with these same concerns in Psalm 13:1, as well as Job in Job 13:24. Both men cried out to God, wondering where He was, doubting why He wasn’t rescuing them. Yet both these men overcame their doubts and chose to trust this same God they questioned. David relents “but I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation” (Psalm 13:5). Job declared “though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (Job 13:15). When tested with trials, our human side cries out, “Where are you, God?” Thinking we’ve been betrayed, we build a wall up between us and the only one that can help us. However, before we can experience true joy, we must tear down this wall of betrayal between us and God. On the cross Jesus cried out in despair “why hast thou forsaken me?” Yet He chose to willingly submit His life to God, and now Jesus is ruling and reigning at the right hand of His Father. As children of God, though we may suffer as Jesus did, we will never be neglected, but have been promised an eternal inheritance with Christ!
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
When we feel like giving up or giving in, we can take refuge in God’s promises. We can actually get excited in knowing God is working, and has a purpose for each trial. Be encouraged that our temporary sufferings on this earth will seem so insignificant when we finally see Jesus face to face. Through all the despair we can cling to the promise “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below this article.
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