Refreshment Will Come

Friends,
Let’s consider: Are our trials tearing us down, or are they transforming us? Are our griefs hardening our hearts toward God and others, or are they conforming us to Christlikeness? I try to ask myself these questions. Because it helps in the readjustment of my attitude. And when attitude is correct, pain (be it psychological, physical, or spiritual) has much less potency.

I often think of 1 Peter 5:6-10. It says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself RESTORE YOU and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Why must we suffer? It is so that we might “be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” (Rom. 8:29) For we “want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death…” (Phil. 3:10) Christ said, “‘…My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, SO THAT Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9,10)

It is actually then, the weakness that CAUSES the power! The world is aghast at such an attitude, such a belief… but WE aren’t. We understand, and we DO rejoice in sufferings. Sometimes not while in them, but when we look back… Oh, we see FRUIT. The fruit being, transformation… conformity to our wonderful Shepherd… steadfast faith… power to obey and do and serve and love. Wisdom. Peace. Contentment. The list goes on…….

Look at those honored in the Heb. 11:32-38 passage: “…who through faith conquered kingdoms… whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle… tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two… They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated– the world was not worthy of them.” (Those are MY heroes; are they yours?)

Thus, in view of all this, may we never allow our trials, traumas, or sufferings to destroy us or to plant any bitter root. –But rather, may we grow in tenderness and godliness through them! For “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.” (Heb. 12:10) Yes, as Eph. 1:11 says, He “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will in order that we… might be for the praise of His glory.”

So “Consider it pure JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance… so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking ANYTHING.” (James 1:2-4) And “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross… [So do] not grow weary and lose heart. …Endure hardship as discipline…No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees… so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” (Heb. 12:2,3,7,11-13)

Let’s TRUST His Word, His promises.

Like Ps. 107:20 –“He sent forth His Word and healed them.”

Be encouraged.
Love,
Rachel

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~ by smilesback on September 6, 2009.

 
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