[Last week in Why Trials? I discussed the reasons for trials. If you missed it, CLICK HERE.]
God sees us. We are naked and exposed before him (Hebrews 4:12-13). Because we know our sinful hearts and flawed motives, this truth can be terrifying. We are all seriously broken, yet we have a complete inability to hide from God’s gaze.
When he tests us, he sees what’s really there, not what we wish was there, what we portray to the public, or what we know should be there.
But God’s LOVE covers and forgives all our sins, and that love undergirds his inspection and testing. His love is always ready to give us another chance. It shows itself in mercy and grace. Because he loves us, he died for us knowing we would still commit sin all our lives, in spite of our best efforts.
Jesus is with us in trial. Even when we respond by grumbling, whining, and fighting, he never abandons or forsakes us. Rather, he runs to us with open arms, eager to help. His love carries us through it.
So, since we possess that unflinching love demonstrated by the Savior, how do we navigate trial? How do we embrace testing as an essential of our Christian lives?
We must REMIND OURSELVES of these truths:
- Christ knows exactly how we feel when we suffer or are tempted (Heb. 4:16-18).
- Christ wants us to cry out with frank confidence and to grab hold of him for help (Heb. 2:14-18).
- God promises to work ALL things together for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28-39).
- Complaining and grumbling show the true condition of our hearts (1 Corinthians 10:9-13 and Philippians 2:12-16).
We love #1, #2, and #3. But #4 convicts us.
Jesus modeled how to trust God. Believing in the complete love and trustworthiness of the Father, Jesus was frank and honest with him. He cried out in Gethsemane. We, too, can cry out to the Lord, honestly bringing our fears, heartaches, and worries to him. We have Jesus’ assistance to do it.
Complaining to others habitually shows our lack of trust. It reveals that we don’t believe God knows what he’s doing. However, complaining to God and crying out to him, demonstrate faith. In our crying, he enables us to trust and to yield.
Having Jesus’ attitude is a high requirement, but we have his Spirit in us, and he will empower us to give thanks. His attitude and response of yieldedness and gratitude to God is the way he wants us to live. Not my will, but yours, Lord, is the highest response to trial.
Lord, help me! How do we do this?
We fix our eyes on Jesus. We consider Jesus. We imitate him.
When he was forsaken and abandoned by his earthly companions and betrayed to death, he cried out to God. He bared his heart to the Father. He yielded. Voluntarily, he let go of his life, entrusting it to the Father. He suffered human agony and spiritual suffering as the Father turned his back when Jesus bore our sins.
Yet Jesus’ great love for us compelled him to suffer. Even in the midst of it, he still showed loved and consideration for others. He cared for his mother. He never complained. He died for us.
Therefore, he can sympathize with us in testing. He has been tested as we are, yet without sinning. He has seen that God is faithful. He has lived through this. His indwelling Spirit is our sustaining force. He wants to enable us to walk in his steps, to live like him.
And so, we bare our hearts to the Lord, moment by moment. We remind ourselves of who he is and what is true of him. We beg him for help to respond like he did. And then we walk in the strength that HE provides. Trials teach us how to do this.
Because he has suffered, he is able to comfort us in our trials. Our comfort comes through Christ and allows us to sympathize with and to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-11 ). Even in our worst moments, we are able to help others as he helps us.
Thank you, Lord, for this testing. You do all things well. Help me to keep my eyes on you.