Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Path Through Trials - Section 3

This week we discussed Section 3 pages 101 to 135.

Staying in our trials: We discussed staying in our trials. Do we need to? Often there are ways we could avoid the trial but some times the right thing to do is to face them head on. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego for example, could have avoided their trial. They could have said to themselves ‘well God knows my heart, and that I’m not really worshiping the Golden statue’ They could have bowed in order to avoid the aweful punishment, knowing that in their hearts they still worshiped the true God. But they didn’t. They didn’t compromise. They decided to face their trial. What kinds of trials do we face? Do we compromise even with the every day tests and trials? Could we easily avoid the trial by compromising? What is the right way to respond to each trial, rather than the easy way?

Elizabeth gave us examples of people who stayed in their trials, who chose to go through them rather than avoid them. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego, Abraham, and even Christ. “In all of these instances… It was 100 percent Him [God] and not the skills, knowledge, abilities, smooth talking, and clever manipulations of humans that ended these tests. Those involved only had to do three things: step into their test, stay in their test and wait on and trust in God.” page 140

It is good to remember some of those listed in Hebrew ‘Hall of Faith’ failed just like us, but God still honored them. Sarah tried to manipulate her circumstance to bring her trial to an end. She failed, with disastrous consequences, but she became stronger through her trial.

Weakness: The world tells us that to get through difficulties we need to be strong. Find our inner strength and get on with it.

But the bible says that when we are weak we are strong. We need to be at peace with our weakness so that we can trust God for His strength. We should not let pride get the better of us. We should be honest about our weakness. As Elizabeth said on pg 127 ‘Let God use others to assist you as you make your way through your trial. This shows your maturity and lest God work through the other person.’

When facing trials we should look to God for strength and Grace to endure. 'And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am week, then I am strong.' 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Our weakness emphasizes God’s strength.

The purpose of Trials: ‘God works through trials in our lives to ‘perfect’ and mature us.’ page 136. We thought that in the world today, and in the circumstance in which we live it is difficult for people to see the purpose of trials. We live in a shallow world with often an artificial peace and happiness. In a world that is always seeking to fulfill pleasure, and perpetual happiness, it is difficult to see the need for trials. It is hard for people to see that suffering is necessary to make us stronger, and that on the other side of trials there is blessing.

We were reminded that having nice children is not good enough. We need to help our children develop character and maturity, and sometimes this means allowing them to face a difficult situation rather than stepping in to help them. ‘… maturity and usefulness are the overarching outcomes of trials endured and seen through to the end.’ Pg 143

To Sum up: We all enjoyed this anonymous poem. We thought it a beautiful illustration of how God lovingly teaches us in ways we don’t expect and how we are blessed because of His wisdom.

'I asked God for strength that I might achieve,
I was made weak that I might learn to humbly obey.

I asked for help that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy,
I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness so that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life,
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for but everything I had hoped for.
I am among all men, most richly blessed.'

Page 144-145

“Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:4

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