Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trials, Tribulation, Triumph?

I recently read an article by John Busacker called, Why You Need to Fail. In his article, John described how important it is for us to go through trials and testing because  "It is there that we learn what really matters and acquire the necessary humility to depend on God's great grace, rather than on our own inconsistent efforts."

When John was asked what the most important characteristic a leader should possess, his response was "She or he must have been broken—physically, spiritually, professionally, personally, relationally—and then gotten up, dusted themselves off and continued forward with the wisdom from that loss seared in both mind and heart. I would never follow a leader that is unbroken. He or she lacks the compassion and humility to lead others." 

It's funny how trials and tribulation help remind us how important it is to trust God. We are so quick to call God out when we are uncomfortable or angry, hurt or struggling. However, God never leaves us -- even when times are rough. It's in those times which we must cling to God all the more. And maybe that's the purpose of trials or testing: that we are broken to the point of letting go of all we know, in order for God to become number one in our lives. 

I know from experience that when God seems the furthest away, in trials and struggling, when I genuinely feel like giving up, it's in that moment that God Himself feels more real. 

This reminds me of Romans 5:

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

and James 1:

"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 may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Mark Batterson, the pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., wrote:
"When I'm going through a tough time emotionally or relationally or spiritually, I figure I'm getting an education in those areas. When it gets really tough, I think of it as graduate work. Everyone and everything become part of my education. God redeems them and uses them to shape me into the person He wants me to become."

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