Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rejoice when you have problems...

...and trials. I'm sure this is not the first time you have heard this statement and, I know, it won't be the last time because it comes from the world's best-selling & best-telling book.

Romans 5: 3 - 5 tell us why we should "rejoice when we have problems (italics mine):
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." (NLT)

Let's amplify the verses: "Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us." (Amplified)

Can't speak for you but I know that there are "some troubles I've seen" and the last thing on my mind is thanksgiving. I mean, what is there to thank God about when things are not going as planned or not going at all? The fact of life is that life will be dull and devoid of excitement without challenges. In fact, there are many things we will not (and possibly do not) appreciate if they just got handed to us without an effort (even a small one) on our part. Let's think of a simple everyday example: Air. How many of us take the time to thank God that we do not need to make an effort or require "assistance" to breathe? Too many people take that for granted. I pray you never have problems or trials related to breathing
- in Jesus Name.

So back to our topic, when you read what others say about trials, it is obvious that they saw and/or experienced the blessings and benefits of having problems or trials. Let's look at a few of such quotes (my comments are in purple font):

God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them. ~John Aughey  This may  have been inspired by Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you."(Amp) Again, note the use of the word "when" not "if". This is a sure promise that you can only claim and enjoy when you have problems - now how "sweet" is that?  

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. ~ Napolean Hill  So there is a seed of greatest buried in every problem...

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ~ Helen Keller Not much more to be said here...we may already have heard of Helen Keller. She was the first deaf & blind person to earn a university degree.

A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown  It takes courage to take that bend which depends on what you "see" &/or hope for.

Trials are medicine which our gracious and wise physician prescribes, because we need them and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires, let us trust in his skill and thank him for his prescription. ~ John Newton  This brings us back to thanksgiving and rejoicing...that we have trials to "cure our case." Join me in this prayer: Lord, thank You for my problems and trials because they will not kill me rather they will raise me. I receive grace to see the seed of greatness in my problems and trials. I know that as I overcome them, You will take me higher and closer to Your purpose for my life. 
Amen

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