Thursday, January 2, 2020

Refined Through the Fire - Martin Wiles

Series: The Truth about Trials

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2 NLT

Joni Eareckson Tada, paralyzed from the neck down from a swimming accident, said, “Take those road hazards—the potholes, ruts, detours, and all the rest—as evidence that you’re on the right route. It’s when you find yourself on that big, broad, easy road that you ought to worry.”

In the movie, San Andreas, a large earthquake pummeled residents of the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles, California, areas, leaving death and destruction in its path. Just when they thought the quake was over, a researcher predicted a larger one was on the way. Buildings collapsed, roads and bridges disappeared, and thousands died. But one husband and wife, who were on the verge of divorce, recovered their marriage and saved their family.

Although James says to take trials as an opportunity for great joy, doing so isn’t easy. First-century believers certainly had their share of trials when persecution broke out against them. Many died. In one form or another, persecution has continued over the centuries. But trials of various sorts didn’t begin in the first century. They began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, letting sin into their lives and into the world.

No one enjoys trials, but they do have a way of challenging our faith (1 Peter 1:7). Joni Eareckson Tada discovered that. So have I. When I’ve looked to God during the trials—rather than to others or to a path of bitterness and disobedience—He has drawn me closer to Him. I’ve learned dependence—not co-dependence. I’ve discovered He’s all I need and that His power is sufficient to take me through any and every difficulty. My faith has grown more during the tough times.

Trials also always end in deliverance (Psalm 34:19). Some may appear to go on and on—and some may haunt us until our death—but God will deliver, through life or in death. Either way, deliverance comes. God determines the intensity and the time limit. Whether He brings it or allows it is immaterial. He is in control either way. And He controls with love and with our best interests at heart.

Let God challenge your faith through life’s trials. He will deliver … and accomplish wonderful things in your life along the way.

Prayer: Father, challenge us through the trials. Grow our faith so that we may be formed more into Your likeness.

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