Trials come into our lives that we sometimes do not understand. Accusations are made against us. We are falsely judged. Our health deteriorates. Our loved ones pass away. Our financial status crumbles. Sometimes it seems we have hit rock bottom. That is, until something else horrible happens and we think we’ve hit it again. The process repeats itself until we find ourselves feeling discouraged and defeated.
Do you remember what happened to Job?
He found out a great number of his servants had been killed. Minutes later, he got word that his sheep and some additional servants had been burned in a fire. It wasn’t long afterwards when someone else ran in and told him his camels had been stolen. Wow! If I was in Job’s shoes, I would have thought that was the end! Surely, Job believed he had hit rock bottom. Surely, things looked like they couldn’t get any worse. That’s when it happened – someone came and told him the house his sons and daughters had been assembled in had collapsed and they had all died. Every single one of them!
Do you understand that the story of Job is not a fairy tale? Job was a real man with real problems. He had feelings just like you and I do. He had heartaches. He had fears. He had doubts. Job had something else though – he had faith! He trusted God even in the times when everything in his life seemed to fall apart. God blessed him for that, did He not?
You know the story so I’m not going to get into all of that right now. Several people I know are currently facing tremendous battles in their lives – this blog is for you – you know who you are!
If you have been facing a serious trial or set of trials, please get out your Bible and take some time to read Acts chapters 21 through 25. You will be reminded about some serious trials the Apostle Paul endured.
He was beaten, bound with chains, had multitudes of people demanding his death, was carried into a castle and nearly scourged, and it went on and on for a couple of years.
After you read the details of his sufferings and torment, turn over to Acts chapter 26. In case you don’t have your Bible handy, I’ll share two verses with you. In Acts 26:1-2, the Bible records,
“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:”
Have you ever stepped foot inside of a courtroom? Have you ever had to give an answer to a jury or to a judge? Were you excited about that? Were you happy about it? Ordinarily, Paul wouldn’t have been happy about it either. But Paul made a decision. He said, “I think myself happy.”
Can I encourage you today to follow Paul’s example?
Can you think yourself happy?
Well, perhaps I asked the wrong question. I already know the answer to the one I asked. The answer is YES. You can indeed think yourself happy. The real question isn’t if you can. The real question is if you will. Will you think yourself happy?
During many trials of my life, folks have told me to sing when I’m upset. Singing doesn’t come naturally when we are in trials, does it? Except for those folks who enjoy singing songs about how sad they are just to dig themselves deeper into a hole. I’m talking about singing praises to God! Have you ever tried that? I dare you! Right now, take a moment and sing “Count Your Blessings!” Think about the words as you sing them. Think about the blessings in your life. You just read this article – that means you have eyes that see! It means you have some kind of an electronic device to view articles on. It means your brain is in tact and you are able to think. That was three blessings right there! What others can you add to the list? Count your blessings! Thank God! Praise Him! And I dare you, I just dare you to see if you can still be upset by the time you finish praising God and thanking him for the blessings He’s put in your life.
Here are some verses that might encourage you during your trial.
Don’t just skim over them. Read each one slowly and think about what you are reading. After you read and meditate on them, pray about them. Think about the old hymn “Standing On The Promises.” Learn to believe God’s Word. Learn to trust it. Learn to have faith in God.
OK… here are the verses:
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee withersoever thou goest.” – Joshua 1:9
“Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” – Proverbs 3:5
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4:13
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” – Romans 15:13
“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” – Psalms 55:22
Don’t continue reading until after you have read, meditated on, and prayed over the verses above.
Good – now that you’ve done that, I would like to encourage you to do one more thing!
Take those verses and write each one on a separate sticky note or little piece of paper. Tape them up throughout your house where you will see them. Attach one to the mirror in your restroom. Put another one on the refrigerator. Place one next to your washing machine. Put one on your closet or on the front door to your house. Put one on the steering wheel of your car. Every time you walk passed one of those verses, read it again. Remind yourself of God’s Word. Don’t be discouraged.
God knows what trials you can handle. He knows how those trials can grow you! He knows how they can strengthen you!
If you would like me to pray with you about your trial(s), please comment below. You have my word that I will pray fervently for your situation.