trials and hardship.

Human Nature is an incredible thing.  Though we are insignificant and extremely lowly in the hierarchy of the universe and all things created, we still manage to believe that the very deity of God exists to love us, to love serve us and our desires and to make a better life for us. Reference the book of Ecclesiastes — “a vanity of vanities” if you will.  And yet, how very wrong we are.

Something fantastic happened yesterday.  A true answer to the prayer of many for our family’s life.  And though I was excited, my heart felt like it was mourning, in a sense, and I felt the Spirit of God gently ask if I’d ask if this was His will.  In an excitement to receive an answer to prayer I never questioned whether my prayer was truly bringing the will of God into this earth or mine.  It isn’t that God doesn’t want the good that comes from this answered prayer, it is that we see our circumstances and our immediate world and He has an infinite view and understanding of eternity that we cannot even begin to fathom.  Therefore, everything He does is the right thing, the correct thing, the perfect and best thing.  See, what I had done was I had begged God to remove the discomfort of circumstances and trials so that I can receive this “good” thing.  But what I learned after spending some time in prayer, is that we must not draw back from hardships and difficulties.  It isn’t that we look for them or cause them ourselves.  But that when, inevitably, hardships and trials and uncomfortable circumstances come, we embrace our cross, praise Jesus and endure the fullness of what they are and what they will produce, so that we partner with the purposes of Heaven and truly release Heaven on earth.  

Scripture is filled with exhortations to endure from Genesis to Revelation.  All throughout, it reminds us, humans, that difficulties will come and that this is the will of God.  Out of these difficulties, we learn to behold the glory of our God, these trials produce faith.  They demonstrate to our world the sovereignty of Jesus in our lives and the power of Christ dwelling within us.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you maybe perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

— James 1:2-4

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that he proof of your faith, more precious than gold which is perishables, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”

— 1 Peter 1:6-7

 Abraham. Joseph. Job. John the Baptist. Jesus. Paul. Every man accounted as righteous.  Every single one. Righteous and full of faith. And each man lived tremendously difficult circumstances.  Each man knew sorrow and difficulty well.  But our God, who is faithful, always restored the loss from hardship at least double fold.  And each man knew the Father deeply, intimately and beautifully.  And isn’t that our heart’s desire anyway? Isn’t the knowledge of God and His glory the chief end of man’s purpose?  Isn’t knowing Him enough?  If hardship produces deeper fellowship with our God, then isn’t it worth all the loss? 

If your answer is no, then I dare you to get to know God better.  Everything about who He is is good and worth it all. Don’t shrink back from it. Embrace it and allow it to prove your faith and His glorious hand.

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