I have been growing in Christ at a good pace this past 3 years. After neglecting my walk with Jesus for quite a few years, I returned to my first love, and He is better than ever. That’s not to say I don’t stumble, trip over a curb and fall flat on my face from time to time, because I do. I’m really good at tripping over my own feet, metaphorical or not.
After a crisis point in our marriage, I realized how far away from God I had moved over about a 5 – 7 year period. How did that happen? Well, you know, life. Life got in the road and I let it take over. There were many reasons it happened and the important thing is the lessons I learned from that time period. I made some huge mistakes that almost cost me everything. Praise God, He saved me from my stupidity. One huge thing that allowed me to wander away was I stopped taking inventory of my spiritual life and progress. I think that is very important to every Christian alive. At least once a year, do a spiritual checkup. Find some resources from Christian authors and see if you’re growing or stagnating. Another thing that I had let slide was my daily devotion and prayer time. Social media filled that void, actually stole that time slot in my day. So those are both essential things I need to watch for in the future. So I have dived back into the Word, prayer, and meeting with other believers. As a result, I’m growing.
When growth comes, there will almost certainly be trials and tribulations. Guaranteed! I can tell you that at times, I can look around me and see where Satan has been busiest. He does not like growth in our Christian walk. You know what he does like? He loves it when you don’t even think about him. He doesn’t insist on being first in everyone’s lives. In fact, he’d rather you didn’t give him any credit. Just forget about him, or better yet, scoff at the idea there is a Devil with demonic helpers. You see all he has to do is keep you too busy to think about God. Too busy to even stop and pray. As with Job, he does test us. He wants us to lose our faith, to blame God for the bad things happening in our lives. Here is where you really have to take note. When you are going through a trial and your response is to moan and groan to anyone who will listen, to question where God is at in all of this, and to ignore the good things that are coming about because of this trial, PRAY. Talk to God. Tell our Heavenly Father how you feel. Exactly how you feel. He knows what you’re feeling, but He does want to hear from you in the same way you would love to hear from your earthly child. Why would we deny Him this? Tell Him about this trouble, tell Him how you’re feeling, ask Him for help, ask Him to reveal himself in this. He will. If nothing else, you will have grown closer to Him, and that is HUGE.
Sometimes it seems that everyone and everything in my life is under attack. That is happening to me now. Everywhere I look, there are problems. Big problems. Divorce, loss of job, depression, serious stress, and more. Sometimes when we are bombarded with troubles, it’s tempting to pull away from God. After all He doesn’t seem to be helping, right? Wrong .
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 These were words He spoke to his disciples before he died. He wanted them to know that troubles were not a sign of things not going well. It wasn’t their fault if things were bad. It wasn’t God’s fault. This was inevitable, just as it is today. He also promised the Holy Spirit in this same passage.
Again, we have the benefit of the Holy Spirit to comfort us, to intercess for us, and to strengthen us.
We need to take advantage of His help. Ask for it, search the Scriptures for it, talk to other believers about it. Just hang on and don’t let go. Trials are actually good things. They are opportunities for growth.
Recently, I re-read the story about Betsy and Corrie Ten Boom, the 2 Dutch sisters who with their father, hid many Jews during Hitler’s racial cleansing. They ended up going to a prison camp because they were caught hiding the Jewish people. After they ended up in the prison camp, the two sisters were assigned to the same bunk house. The bunk house was infested with fleas. One day Betsy was reading her Bible and came across the verse that says, “Be anxious about nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6.
Corrie wondered how they could be thankful for everything, and asked Betsy, “Even the fleas?” Betsy said,”Yes, we need to thank God for the fleas.” It turned out that all of the guards left that bunk house alone because of the fleas, they wouldn’t go in and inspect it. Which resulted in the sisters being able to keep their Bibles and witness to those around them.
So therefore, I need to praise God and thank him for those trials I’m going through. Although I can’t see the end result, I do know that I can trust God with anything and everything and my Heavenly Father will be at work in my life using those trials to work His perfect will in my life. And that is something I can be thankful for.