Turn your Trials Into Gold

Sometimes we go through trials, problems, hurts, lack, etc and we wonder what is happening to us, where is God in all of this, what are we suppose to understand from it and how are we supposed to respond to it all. We can get discouraged, worried, stressed and even depressed. How can we go through these things as overcomers?
 
Well, there are about 3 – 4 Scriptures that help us a lot with this. Let's look at them.
 
James 1: 2-4:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But LET patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
 
We sometimes do the opposite, we get sad, down or even mad at God. Why? Because we do not understand God's main goal for our lives. He wants to conform us to the image of His Son, to the perfect man, Jesus Christ. And in James we can find His formula for achieving this: Use trials to test faith with the end goal to produce patience, one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
 
And God does not stop there, He says: But LET patience have its perfect work – that means we need to willingly choose to wait inside the trial until God has achieved His goal – that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Well, don't we all want to be perfect, complete, lacking nothing? Well, get ready to wait, and let the waiting be perfect.
 
There are a number of examples in the Bible where, though people had trials, and though they waited, their waiting was not perfect, and it led to imperfection, trouble and problems. First of all, Abraham, waited a long time, and towards the end of the waiting period he could not wait any longer and probably felt justified to act! But because he did not let patience have its perfect work, he produced Ishmael. As a result, trouble came in his home, which led to Ishmael and his mother being rejected and cast away, and the formation of the muslim race. The muslims say they trace themselves down to Ishmael.
 
Another example was Saul. He could not wait for Samuel to come and offer the sacrifice and he did it himself, though he was not authorised by God – and thus sinned. The Bible says in Proverbs: And he sins who hastens with his feet. (Proverbs 19:2)
 
Then again, there are 2 good examples that I can think of in the Bible of people who LET patience have its full work. The first one is David. He knew God anointed him king in the place of Saul, yet Saul was not willing to move out of the way, but rather started to go after David's life. David had a few chances to kill Saul and finish with him and then get the throne. Yet, he chose not to, because he wanted to let God do things in His own time and not establish himself through a shortcut:
'Let the LORD judge between you and me, and let the LORD avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you.' (1 Samuel 24:12) Do we react this way when people go after us and hate us?
 
Jesus was another example of course. Jesus was offered to have all the kingdoms of this world by the devil – he owned them because man gave him right to enter into every nation – yet Jesus refused. The people of Israel liked all the benefits of Jesus's ministry and they have decided to come and make him king. Yet, He went and hid himself. Why didn't Jesus choose a shortcut? He was meant to be the king of the whole earth and of Israel. He preferred though to go through the cross on the way to the throne, because that was the cup that God wanted Him to drink and He did not want to do His own will, but that of the Father. Jesus will one day be king of all the nations, but He was happy to wait and go God's way.
 
What about you and me? Are we willing to go through the cross to the throne? Are we willing to let God use trials, and let Him keep us in them as long as it is needed for the perfect man to be created in us? How can patience be created in us, unless we have something we desire that we have to wait for, and we have to wait for more than we want? Patience produces perseverance, as the Bible says, and perseverance character and character hope, and hope does not dissapoint. (Romans 5: 3-5) What is this hope? – Jesus in us, the hope of glory!
 
I remember a trial we had once in Romania. We bought a house for the church and while we were away on holidays a gypsy family moved in without our permission. When we got to the house, they were out, but their belongings were inside. Later  they arrived, passed by us at the door, not even saying hello, and entered the house. Well, anyone would be infuriated at that! This was our house!
 
So our first reaction was to call the police, but Michael after some thought decided instead to go in the house and share the Gospel with them! The other believer who was with us at that time thought this is such a silly thing to do and left. We went inside and Michael gently started to share the Gospel, got words of knowledge about sicknesses they had and asked if he could pray for them. They, in total shock, agreed and we prayed for their sickness and told them the Gospel. They all prayed to receive Christ! Of course, we then had to gently tell them that this does not mean they can stay indefinitely in the house and we gave them 2 weeks to move out, after which they did.
 
I have once heard a preacher tell me this story. His wife was very sick in hospital for one year and he took the year of ministry to be with her. But he could hardly wait for this trial to be over, he hated it, he wished the ordeal will end. One day as he came home from the hospital, Jesus appeared physically in his room. He asked him: You want this trial to go quickly, don't you? He answered: Yes, Lord. Then Jesus said: 'Don't desire to go quickly through a trial, because only here on earth, during times of darkness you can collect the treasures of darkness, you can't collect them in heaven. You should want to collect as many treasures of darkness as you can instead of have the trial pass quickly. 'I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places' (Isaiah 45:3)
 
Are we willing to have God's priority and goal for our lives become ours? That we would patiently go through trials and no anyhow, but by making a concious decision to LET (which means we can also not let, but hinder) patience have its perfect work in us. Even if we say yes now, are we going to keep our 'yes' when trials hit? I know it's hard for the flesh to swallow, but we are called to live in the spirit, not in the flesh, and the spirit loves the things of the Spirit, the flesh fights against the Spirit.
 
Do we 'glory' in tribulations? It says its part of our nature as a believer! :
'But we also GLORY in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5: 3-5)
 
We need to renew our mind and have a change of mind towards our trials – we need to rejoice and glory in them… They are opportunities put before us by God through which we can become more like Jesus – what a glorious and joyful end! … See you there!
 

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