Dancing With Trouble - Part 2

In the previous post, we discovered how hardships, adversity, trials and trouble can be used for our benefit because they test our faith and build us with patience and endurance.

You can read Part 1 here.

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HUMBLE OR BITTER

A simple examination of such lives reveals a particular creative force that transforms their misfortune into a wonderful pleasure. You have observed in your own life that difficulty or catastrophe either breaks us in spirit, melting the hardness and drawing us to God in our helplessness, or it forces us to rely on our frail resources and human reasonings, which at times hardens our spirit, makes us critical, and often bitter. 

It deprives the heart of the wonderful privilege of believing in God and the opportunity to grow life into fruitful and beneficial channels.

Trouble will either make you bitter or better. Take note of how similar these two words are, and how little modification is required; just the letter "I." Yes, saints in the Lord. The "I" is what transforms the situation.

EGO AND SELF

When the "I" is kept out of the equation, out of the problem, life improves; but when the "I" is added and we get entangled in the difficulty, life becomes bitter and we become tough. Too often, this "I" gets in the way; the poor, little, wounded ego receives a hit and runs down the street, crying for attention.

The petty ego sits in his doorway and weeps self-pity tears till his eyes become so red and swollen that he is unable to perceive things as they are or should be.

Understanding the difficulty in terms of strength and high living, requires a calm heart, a peaceful spirit, and a clear vision (long-range, if you will). Tiny hearts, small individuals, are often harmed; the ego inside is excessively significant and, as a result, is easily wounded or pleased.

SEEKING JUSTICE

Such people inhabit an insufficiently large universe, and therefore everything is totally linked to the self inside. To put it gently, they will have a tough time. Frequently, such spirits are those seeking justice, fairness, and balanced existence. They never seem to be able to learn. We are not here to seek retribution or revenge; we are here to persevere.

If you want to be a spiritually successful Christian, you may as well learn right now to eliminate the word "justice" from your vocabulary in as much as it concerns your life. We are not receiving justice at the moment. God's Saturday night of reconciliation has not yet arrived.

GOD THE GIVER

Some live as if life and the Christian experience are an ATM machine: you put in your card of compassion and get your blessing; then you give some money in your generosity and believe God must bless you the next time you go to church or a Bible Study or worship session.

Be very nice, kind, or giving, and the winds will blow you a fortune next week. While it is true that we will harvest what we sow and that bread thrown into the rivers will return, God is not quite specific on the time factor. As a result, we will not always get our justice immediately.

Jesus never instructed His disciples to look for justice. Paul was not vindicated, and no one defended him in his trials. Even great leaders throughout history did not always get immediate justice. Make no mistake; I am not of the opinion that the Christian or spiritually oriented person is unaware of the injustice's pain or anguish.

RENEWED MIND

Believe me, dear saints in Christ, the Holy Spirit increases one's sensitivity to sorrow, hurt, and injustice, but the triumphant soul and the renewed mind has discovered that the gift of grace and God's love are sufficient to keep the difficulty from breaking his spirit.

The closer a person comes to Christ, the more He understands and grows in the knowledge of Christ, the more sensitive he becomes to suffering, little, petty, cruel ways, and all the other harsh and unlovely things that vex the heart and tarnish the soul. 

The eyes have been anointed, and he now sees in them the advantages of victory and good life. I am sure we have all lived long enough to have encountered some kind of injustice. But, God has graced us today to be free of hatred and ungrateful emotions.

TRUE SPIRITUALITY

To experience distress or injustice and to feel it, but to live above and beyond its destructive force, is a sign of true spirituality, a proof of the Christian character He has created in the life.

A brother in Christ heard of a genuine injustice committed against me at one point, and he was shocked to discover it came from a Christian source. Such treatment, he said, is categorically wrong. I would not tolerate it. 

Of course, it was wrong and very unjust, and I was surprised and judged at times, but I kept my heart and life open for justice and the right thing to be done for me; but, I was ignored and clearly forgotten.

However, God had brought me a long way down the road and I knew He would take care of the situation; therefore, I relied on His mercy and love and stood it. Why? because His mercy and love endure forever. 

HURT AND ANGER

Initially, I was hurt and angry every time a believer did me wrong, but as Christ began to deal with my spirit with His word and spirit, I was able to overcome the hurt and anger, and I learned to never allow the pain and disappointment to grow into a wound.

Does that mean I am fully above these things today? Not yet. I have to like everyone else renew my mind and chose to love, forgive and walk in Christ. There are no exceptions for these.

And today, I give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ for the realities of His life that sustain my heart in times of hardship, trials and unjust dealings that might otherwise freeze it to dullness and hardness. 

If we had the time, we might trace through history, both religious and secular, dozens of great men and women who could not escape life's difficulties. They were moral, compassionate, and noble, but they fell victim to the disciplinary measures of difficulty.

PAUL'S TRIALS

Paul must have known difficulty, otherwise, he could not have said,

2 Corinthians 11:23-25 -- Are they servants of Christ? (I am talking like I am out of my mind!) I am even more so: with much greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with more severe beatings, facing death many times. Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea.

Nevertheless, he emerges refined and stronger, a magnificent manifestation of God's mercy and grace and a model for future generations that adversity and trouble may be utilised to develop Christian character.

JOSEPH AND JOB

Joseph and Job, among others, demonstrate the same reality in the Old Testament. Surely Joseph might have said, "All of this is against me. Where has God gone? Why are there so many complications and difficulties when He promised me tremendous victory and success?"

However, listen to him when he pulls through with faith,

Genesis 50:20 -- As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day.

EXAMPLE OF CHRIST

We are following Christ's example, who said that the servant was not superior to his master. 

Matthew 10:24 -- “A disciple is not greater than his teacher, nor a slave greater than his master.

And we read of Him, 

Hebrews 5:8 -- Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered.

DEVELOPMENT OR DELIVERANCE

What are you looking for in your current trial? Is it a matter of deliverance or of development? You can have either one and be unchanged, or you can have both and remain unchanged. Take care of the development first, and the deliverance will follow.

Allow this servant to minister to you in a manner that no one else can. Maintain a good attitude and use your difficulty as one of the most skilled and marvellous tools God has ever put in your hands for the purpose of developing out the character of Christ in you. Renew your mind with the promises you have under the  New Covenant.

When handled properly, trouble may offer you tremendous serenity and a profound surrender of soul that nothing else can produce in you. Yes, I know this does not sound like the mainstream teaching of your church where you are called to continually intercede for deliverance. That has its place in times of prayer.

I HAVE UNDERSTOOD

Although I have not travelled far on this path, I can attest personally that these deeper insights of truth and a clear knowledge of God's things have come solely through suffering. I am unable to suggest another way. You may or may not agree with me. 

You may be taught to ignore these things by many, asking you to keep looking at Jesus so you can have success. However, when you look at Jesus, you cannot escape the cross. The cross and crown, both have equal importance in the life of a believer and know this, the crown is not being materially successful. Our crown is Christ.

May God give you the grace to bear your fair share of trouble and trial. Do not ask for an exception, but may He educate you and use this odd servant to shape your life into magnificent proportions of strength and beauty, and may healing streams of understanding and love pour from your life to shattered lives and frightened, timid hearts. 

Always remember that he who suffers the most has the greatest capacity to give and love.

Blessings,

Godwin.

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