Trials Tempt Us to Doubt: Part 3 of our Tests & Trials seriesJune 7, 2023
Trials = Peace? The finale of our Tests & Trials seriesJune 21, 2023
And lead us not into temptation trials … —Matt. 6:13
I have found that trials and tests typically bring me closer to Jesus and my Heavenly Father. That is, when I embrace them for this purpose, as opposed to running away from them, or anesthetizing my way through them.
Many times over the years of 721 Ministries I have heard this from men:
“That trial was awful, and I would never want to go through that again. But—I would not be as close to Jesus as I am now without it. I would not trade it for anything.”
I have experienced this as well, and I hope you have, too. Yes, I do. There is a bittersweetness with the memories of such tough times. The pain was bitter, but the resulting closeness to Jesus is oh, so sweet.
Can I get an “Amen?”
When we are in those inevitable trials that life brings to us—or we bring to ourselves—let us learn to use them to get to know Jesus in a deeper way. Jesus had this to say about knowing the Father better:
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”—John 17:3 bold added
Jesus is saying that eternal life – Life with a capital “L’—the life that is truly life—begins with knowing our Heavenly Father, and Jesus, in a deeper, richer relationship. I have experienced this, and again, I hope you have, too. Here is what Paul had to say:
I want to know Christ —yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.—Phil. 3:10 bold added
Here is what God had to say about Job before his trial:
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. …
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”—Job 1:1,8
Those are fine accolades coming from God. But after his trial, Job had this to say about himself:
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”—Job 42:5-6
Job experienced severe trials, but he came out of them realizing God Almighty is indeed almighty God, and after their experience he could now exclaim, “I thought I knew him, but I only knew about him. Now I know him!”
And do not overlook Job’s new awareness about himself, now that he has this new clarity about God:
6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
May you take every adversity, and use it to get closer to Jesus, and to know your Heavenly Father better. Because, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ ….”
Next week: Trials = Peace?
If you want a little more:
You may not be familiar with the Older Testament story of Naaman, but he was a powerful commander in the Syrian army. The top man! Yet, he had leprosy. You should read his story, because it is comical as well as deeply poignant. He seeks out the prophet Elisha, who tells him he will be cured if he dips seven times in the Jordan River.
Naaman in indignant at first, but realizing he is in a bad life situation, that, perhaps for the first time, he cannot control or fix, he obeys. Here is the conclusion from this non-Israelite military giant:
14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became lean like that of a young boy. 15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.”—2 Kings 5:14-15 bold added
“Now I know.”