Thursday, June 17, 2010

Is Your Life a Trial or a Lesson?

Study Passage: Luke 12:30-34

Is your life filled with trials or lessons? Your answer to this question will determine your level of frustration or your level of maturity. A life of trials can be exhausting, often leaving a person weary and defeated. On the other hand, a life filled with lessons creates experiences that build on each other. Life becomes one growing experience after another, a testimony of God’s grace and sufficiency.

Now please do not confuse a struggle with a trial. A struggle can be missing the ball game only to encounter someone who tells you the score. A struggle is burning an evening meal or missing the bus after work. A struggle is temporal, short lived and can be easily overcome. A trial is different because it can be a persistent health issue, being laid off while on a tight budget that is supplied from paycheck to pay check, or being a single parent with no financial support while having kids that are consistently giving trouble at home and at school. A trial is not always easily resolved by human effort and sometimes an attempt to resolve the trial only complicates the experience. This is why trials can be problems or lessons.

David, while tending his father’s sheep, was anointed by Samuel to one day become the king of Israel. This historical event and his defeat of Goliath created a major trial for David as Saul, the king at that time, persecuted him. David could not stop the trial from persisting, and he could not control its intensity. This trial caused David to dig down deep to apply God’s Word, trust God and as a result, there is a transition from Saul’s reign to David’s kingship. The more David ran from Saul, the more popular he became and the larger his following grew (1 Samuel 16-2 Samuel 9). However in the case of Jonah, who was told to go to Nineveh, he saw all the problems with the “call” rather than the lesson and chose to run from God. He encountered trials that were beyond his control and could not be easily resolved with human effort. Jonah’s trail remained an unresolved problem because he remained upset with God. By choosing to lean to his own understanding, Jonah’s trial was one problem after another rather than a continual developmental process (James 1:2-4). David’s trial turned into a lesson, a growth process, and a course that led to his ascension to king because he decided to trust and obey God. Trials can be growing lessons or remain persistent problems.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:26-28)

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

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