I want to talk about a very practical issue – trials. We are all either going into, coming out of, or walking through a trial right now. You know, when I was a new Christian, I thought that everything should be good, I should be happy. However, I went through a bad breakup early in my faith. I remember thinking, “Why am I going through this pain?” Another difficult experience was graduating with a master’s degree and then going to work at Target. I hate red and khaki to this day. I did understand why I was working there. Why do we lose loved ones? Why do we struggle with sickness? Why do we have season ending accidents? When life takes us by surprise it is easy to question God. Why couldn’t I make that play? Why did he have to break my heart?
Trials are actually something we can thank God for, as they are not designed to break us. They change us so that we can reflect more of His image. We try to fill the holes in our lives with band aids, but God wants us to hunger and thirst for Him. Why do we have trials?
When gold comes out of the earth it is covered in dirt, filthy, it just looks like a big rock. It is only when you begin the process of refining – the painful process of removing the dirt and debris – that the beauty of the gold begins to be revealed. He sees what we don’t see in that big dirty lump of rock. We are His masterpieces.
Don’t run from the difficult moments on your life. God is with you. His love does not change, but your circumstances may. It may feel like chaos. Think about your strength coaches – they are pushing you to learn endurance. It feels like they are punishing your bodies. They push them harder, and harder, so that the games are easier than the practices. So that when crunch time comes, you will not fail. Take a look at James 1:2-4:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Happiness and joy are different things. Happiness comes from circumstance. Joy is a supernatural delight that can only come from God. You can try to find happiness, but you don’t have it in yourself to be joyful. To know the Lord, the love of Christ, that is where our supernatural joy can come from.
How can we handle trials?
1. We don’t have the ability to see the big picture.
2. It is ok to cry out to God and question. Be mad. Philippians 4:8
3. Seek community. Don’t try to do it by yourself. The enemy wants you isolated. Let others know where you are struggling. Carry one another’s burdens.
4. Never forget that the love of God never changes. Don’t be lieve the lies of the world about not being good enough. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:39