James 1:2-4, 12 ESV
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Counting our trials as joy doesn’t mean we won’t feel the pain of the suffering, otherwise Jesus wouldn’t need to wipe the tears from our eyes. So, obviously we will suffer, we will feel the pain, we will cry, and we will hurt, and we will need to cry out our pain and our suffering to the Lord.
But in our suffering, and in our time of pain, we need to have a heavenly perspective of our trials and our suffering. And, so we need to thank the Lord and praise him in our suffering. We need to realize that our God is sovereign over all that he has made, so nothing can touch us but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose.
Several byproducts of suffering, if we respond to our suffering in the right way, is the understanding that our faith is being tested, and that through that testing we are going to learn steadfastness, which will then lead to maturity in Christ. But suffering teaches us so much more!
We learn through suffering to rely on God and not on ourselves. We learn compassion for others who are suffering so that we can comfort them with the comfort we received from God. We are sharing in Christ’s holiness. We are becoming like Christ in his death. We are humbled. We learn how to love others with Christ’s love. And it draws us closer to our Lord in obedience.
And, at the end of it all, we will be with our Lord forever, we will have eternal life with God in heaven, and our suffering will be no more. For this is God’s promise to those who love him. And, those who love him are those who walk in obedience to his commands (1 Jn. 2:3-6; Jn. 14:23-24).
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
So, at all times, but particularly when we are going through trials and tribulations which try our faith, we need to put our trust in the Lord. And, to trust in him is to believe that he has all things under his control, and that he has it handled. He will see us through it all if we will just rest in him.
Certainly, we need to cry out our suffering to him, and we need to seek his counsel in how to respond to our suffering. We should also ask him to teach us what he wants us to learn through our suffering, as well. For, our suffering is not without purpose. We can grow in our faith through it.
But when we learn to trust our Lord through our suffering, and to trust him with the outcome, and for him to do in our lives what he wants to do through it all, we will have peace instead of being anxious and distraught. It is good to cry out the pain to get it out, but then we need to rest in Jesus’ arms of love and believe him that he is working this all for the good of us who love (obey) him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Jeremiah 17:14-16 ESV
“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.
Behold, they say to me,
‘Where is the word of the Lord?
Let it come!’
I have not run away from being your shepherd,
nor have I desired the day of sickness.
You know what came out of my lips;
it was before your face.”
Then, we need to allow the Lord to heal us. We must never hold on to the hurt to where it impacts us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We must let it go and allow Jesus to heal our wounded hearts and minds. We must forgive all people who have hurt, abused, betrayed, or mistreated us in any way. And, we must keep on loving others, even our enemies.
One of the many ways in which other people will hurt us (or attempt to harm us) is that they will mock us for our faith in Jesus Christ, or for our witness and our testimonies for him. We may be called crazy, hyper-religious, self-righteous, legalistic, bigoted, hateful, and intolerant, or we may be accused of not hearing the Lord correctly.
They will also try to trip us up with our words, like the Pharisees did with Jesus, and so they will try to confuse us by accusing us falsely of things we did not do, or they will try to plant ideas or attitudes in our minds that our not ours. They will twist our words and they will say one thing and then the opposite to try to get us confused and upset.
But we can’t let their false accusations unsettle us. We must confidently claim what we know to be true. We must combat all lies with the truth using the armor of God which God has supplied us.
First we should examine our own hearts, where needed, to make certain there is not truth to the accusations, but once we have been assured that there is no truth to the accusations, then we need to hold on to the truth we know and are assured of, and we need to keep doing what God has called us to do.
We must put our lives in the hands of the Lord, trust him to work it all out according to his purposes, ask for his guidance and counsel, let him teach us what we need to learn through it all, and then keep on walking in the ways of the Lord, fulfilling God’s purpose he has for our lives, for his glory.
Hide Me, Rock of Ages
Brantley C. George, 1946
Oh Thou blessed rock of ages
Trusting now dear Lord in Thee
Keep me till my journey’s ended
Till Thy blessed face I see
Hide me oh blessed rock of ages
‘Til Thy blessed face I see
When the storm around me rages
Rock of ages hide Thou me
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