There was a wise sage who lived in Jerusalem around 175 BC. This man had a deep respect for the ways of God’s laws and for divine worship. He addressed himself to the contemporaries of his time with the motive of helping them to maintain their faith. With great wisdom, he wrote about the topic of trusting in the Lord in times of adversity. His writings inspired what I have written here today.
This wise sage said this: “My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials.” Wow, is that ever true. Some Christian speakers put forth the idea that once you profess your belief in Jesus Christ your world will be filled with success and you will live in a bed of roses. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Jesus himself warned us that it would not be easy. We read this in Luke 9:23 “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” I feel certain that every Christian reading this has experienced trials in your life. At times just being a Christian and having to defend our faith can be a trial. There may be times you might feel like God has abandoned you. Don’t give up hope. He is always there.
Let’s look further at what the sage had to say. He told the people to be sincere and steadfast in faith and warned them not to be impetuous in times of adversity. He said God never leaves those who cling to Him. We should pay close attention to what he wrote next. He said we should accept whatever happens to us and he told everyone to be patient in periods of humiliation. He compared the trials of life to gold being tested in fire.
Let’s take a quick sidebar to look at how gold is refined. The final phase of production involves removing impurities that remain after the smelting process. The gold is liquefied in a furnace. Borax and soda ash are added to the molten metal, which separates the pure gold from other precious and less precious metals. In much the same way, we as Christians are refined by the trials of life, to be made ready to one day meet God face to face.
The sage also spoke of hope. He says those who trust in God will receive His help. We must do our best to make our ways straight and hope in Him. He assured the people that if they never lost trust in God, they would never lose their eternal reward.
His writing’s point out that in the Old Testament those who trusted in the Lord were never disappointed. We will experience trials in this life, but we also have the promise of everlasting joy. No one who has persevered in faith has been forsaken. No one who calls upon God is ignored.
He reminded everyone that the Lord is compassionate and merciful and He forgives sins and saves the faithful in times of trouble. He went on to give some warnings though. He admonished the faithful not to walk in sin. He tells his readers that the faint of heart, that lack trust, will have no place of safe shelter in times of trial. He again warns everyone never to lose hope.
Here are some things that he suggested we can do to be prepared when adversity comes. We should make sure that we strive to obey God’s word. If we love God we must always strive to keep His ways. As followers of Jesus we must always seek to please God. We should keep God’s laws in our heart. We must be humble. We must remain in God’s hands and not focused on the ways of the world. Living by these axioms will have us prepared when trials come our way. He also reminded everyone that God’s mercy is equal to His majesty.
The analogy of gold being tested is once again brought up in 1 Peter 1:6-7: “In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
In conclusion, I believe we must accept that there will be trials in this life, especially for Christians who are called to die to self, but our hardships do have a purpose. These trials are leading us to everlasting joy. Look at the hardships that the Apostles endured. Their lives show us that blessings and hardships are not mutually exclusive. I will close with this quote from Mark 10: 29-30: “Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age.”
God our Heavenly Father, help me to embrace the trials that refine me in the crucible of life. I know that one day with my impurities melted away you will have me shining like gold in your presence forever. Amen.
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