10/31/18 – Pastor Brians’ Blog
Take a minute and make a list. Let’s say… “Write down the best things you like about your life.”
Hey, why are you reading this paragraph? There is no way you had enough time to make a list of the best things you like about your life!! Ok, maybe you are one of those people that refuses to do things you’re told to do. So let’s just pretend. Pretend that you followed the instructions and made a list of the best things you like about your life. How far down your list do you think you would have to go before you listed: “my trials?”
You might be thinking, “Trials? Are you kidding me? Who in their right mind would put trials on their list of the best things they like about their life?!?!” Trials… who needs them?? James tells us we need them… Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Now don’t miss James’ point: it is not our trials that make us better, it is when we choose to persevere through our trials. This perseverance is what accomplishes God’s greatest work in us. Persevering through trials is the key to becoming more like Christ…. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3
So like it or not, your trials are good for you. Yet, your trials are not only good for you, your trials are good for others… Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
If it wasn’t for Christians willing to persevere through their own personal trials, look at the comfort and encouragement we would have missed out on… In 1741 George Frideric Handel was at the lowest point in his life, and out of his trial, we received the famous “Handel’s Messiah”.
When Bill Gaither’s wife Gloria was going through an untimely pregnancy, Bill himself had just come down with mononucleosis, they had just gone through a difficult divorce in the family, Bill was experiencing a rift with a very close friend, it was during that time that Bill Gaither wrote the song “Because He lives”… “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives!”
And Joseph Scriven? My guess would be that most of you have never heard of him, yet it was through the comfort he received in his trial that continues to comfort people today. On the night before his wedding, his fiancée was thrown from a horse into a river and drowned. It was during that trial when he would write, “What a friend we have in Jesus.”… “Are we weak and heavy-laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge, Take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.”
Probably one of, if not THE best known Christian Hymn writer was Fanny Crosby. Blind for most of her life, she wrote over 9,000 hymns. That is right, over 9,000 hymns! Hymns that are still sung today… “Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died. He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, Hail Him! Hail Him! Jesus the Crucified. Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows, Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong. Praise Him! Praise Him! Tell of His excellent greatness; Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song!”
It is through the perseverance during our trials that we get to experience God in ways that we have never experienced Him before. It is also through our trials that we get to minister to others in ways that we could never imagine.
In his commentary on James, Warren Wiersbe writes, “Our values determine our evaluations. If we value comfort more than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to “count it all joy.” If we live only for the present and forget the future, the trials will make us bitter and not better.”
Trials? Who needs them? WE DO! Also the people God brings into our lives need us to have trials too. I am not sure what you are facing today as you read this blog, nor do I know what trial you might be facing in the future. All I can say is, 1000 years from now you will still be glad that you persevered through that trial and so will the people that God brings your way!!