Reading: Romans 5:2-5
Everyone endures trials and tribulations throughout their lifetime, even Christians. Jesus didn’t promise that if we followed Him, our lives would be easier from that point forward. On the contrary, He warned of the opposite happening. He told us the world would hate us (John 15:18-19).
Life can be rough as a Christian, especially when standing for Christ. People don’t typically like to hear they’re doing something wrong, and so, when we bring those sins to the attention of the wrongdoer, defensive walls immediately rise. Christians often suffer persecution because we hold high values and speak out about them.
The world doesn’t seem to understand our values are not based on our own, but on God’s values. We choose to apply His standards in our lives in order to serve and worship Him. We receive ridicule because we care enough to show others the Light and hope they follow Him, too. Sometimes, that can be disheartening, especially when we see it on a grand scale within world media.
Other types of anxiety may trickle into our lives, allowing human nature to get in the way. We let ourselves dwell on the problem without looking to God. Peter had that same issue when he walked on water to Jesus (Matthew 14:25-31). As soon as he took his eyes off Jesus and became more conscious of the wind and water around him, he began to sink. The more we focus on the trial, the less we concentrate on God. In doing that, we become fearful as to the outcome, but if we make our requests to God, who can calm the storms around us – figuratively and literally, and allow His peace to rush over us, He will guide us over the troubled waters (Philippians 4:6-7).
There are many verses in scripture, teaching us that we shouldn’t fear specific things – don’t worry about the necessities in life (Matthew 6:25-34) or don’t fear man (Matthew 10:28). Those can be hard pills to swallow when we’re in the middle of a situation like that, but it does tend to give one hope when we can recall the scriptures to mind and apply them to our hearts.
Peter advised that we shouldn’t think our trials strange or even allow them to discourage us, but, instead, rejoice because we suffer, and our suffering gives God’s glory a chance to be demonstrated (1 Peter 4:12-13). Paul reaffirmed this. Instead of wallowing in his own suffering, he focused on how his circumstances can be used to reveal God’s glory (Romans 8:18).
Just as Paul stated in our Bible Reading (Romans 5:2-5), in James 1:2-3, James confirms that we should count our sufferings as a blessing, but this time, for a different reason. Living through trials and tribulations produces fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), such as patience.
While these explanations may help ease the pain, imagining happiness in the midst of going through trials seems a difficult task to accomplish.
However, with this forewarning, He gave us something that distinguishes us from non-believers – hope. Even when we feel down, Jesus tells us to look up – to Him. With the Holy Spirit, He is our Hope and Comforter (John 14:16-17), and while we may have trials and tribulations in the world, He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Do you have trouble giving God your troubles so He can carry your burdens?
Pray that God will ease your heart, so you may discover peace in the midst of your trials.
Now, look inside yourself. Do you have negative or positive tendencies? If positive, is it obvious to others?
If negative, what can you do to change that?