Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT
Rain is not a deterrent—just an inconvenience.
I’d heard the saying from seasoned hikers. And since I loved to hike, I’d said it a few times myself. Had I postponed hiking trips because there was a chance of rain, I would have stayed home more than I hiked. Unless the forecast was for a total washout, I went ahead with my plans and prepared accordingly.
One such trip was to Tray Mountain in northeastern Georgia. Prior to reaching the summit, hikers reach a mound of rocks with a 365-degree view. But not on this trip. Clouds socked in the valleys and covered the peaks. Occasionally, the stiff winds blew away enough clouds for me to see the surrounding beauty.
My desire to take a hike or go camping always overruled the inconvenience of rain. I simply prepared for inclement weather by taking a raincoat, a pack cover, and quick-drying clothes. Rain didn’t perplex me. In fact, I learned to expect it when hiking in the mountains—which by the way, make their own weather.
Perhaps Paul was perplexed by his trial—an unidentified thorn in the flesh. He wouldn’t be the first. Old Testament Job—and a host of others--was as well. When living righteously and loving God supremely, it didn’t make sense for life to be tough. Shouldn’t it have been easy?
God has the power to initiate or allow trials. When He allows them, that means Satan is the instigator. He hopes the trial will make me bitter and frustrated or want to give up and quit. That’s never God’s intention when He initiates or allows it. He has good intentions—along with the power to turn around Satan’s intentions and overrule them for good.
Rather than getting perplexed by trials, I can choose to focus on their positive effects. They can grow me, making me stronger spiritually so I can face life with a different attitude. They can draw out my ingenuity. God doesn’t usually automatically fix things, but He will give me wisdom under His power to see the correct course of action. Trials cause me to look at life differently—to examine my priorities. And they also propel me into actions I might not otherwise take.
Instead of being perplexed by your trials, let God show you the positive side effects of them.
Prayer: Father, when we move through difficult seasons of life, show us the positive things that can result.