So we turn to God and ask—or, even cry out, “Why? Is God punishing me? Is Satan attacking me? Is this a result of my free will or someone else’s? Or is this just the inevitable stickiness of life?”
The answer? Yes.
Perhaps God is causing it; perhaps God is allowing it. Maybe God has allowed him, her, or them to be a thorn in your side. Or maybe God has allowed Satan to be. We cannot know…not for sure. We rest in the assurance that God is ultimately in control and can always bring good out of any trial. If he allowed it, then he plans to grow you and take you deeper through it.
If I resist wallowing in the perplexing questions; if I refuse to whine and curse, and instead turn to him and grow closer to him through this pain. Thus my cup will overflow with the peace that flows from my intimacy with Jesus.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?…Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 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. (Heb. 12:7, 10-11)
Do you see the promise? This painful trial, if turned back toward, and over to, Jesus, can train me to live in the light of peace. Peace. Sweet peace. Is there anything more precious than peace?
Whatever type of trial you are enduring, you have two options. You can choose to trust God and… don’t miss this… trust his character, or you can trust yourself. You can surrender and seek a deeper intimacy and faith with him, or you can resolutely refuse any such surrender nonsense and go it alone.
“If I don’t…it won’t. If it’s to be…it’s up to me!”
Stay with me now. We trust God because his character is trustworthy.
We cannot avoid pain, but we can grow from it and through it. We can use it to train us into a harvest of peace. We can take adversity, kick it in the tail, wrestle it to the ground, and force it to serve us.
Adversity and trials as servants? What a concept.
The reward of peace as a result? What a promise.