JOY in Trials

Can we experience God’s blessings through difficulty, tragedy, disease, or loss?

During such times, we may raise our hands to the skies while crying out, “Where are you, God?” Through the different phases of these hardships, our outcry may be “Why, Lord?” Inside, we may be struggling with the words, “Unfair. What have I done to deserve this?”

It takes a different perspective, not a human one, to move past these feelings and advance forward with the point of view revealed to us in the Word: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But you must let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Our human selves do not normally find “joy” in trials. We experience pain, sorrow, depression, loss of hope and even anger. Faith can be lost during these times. But faith can, also, be greatly strengthened. To gain through trial, we have to perceive our struggles in a different way. Maybe when things are hard, that is when God is showing us just how much He does love us. Struggles can mold and shape us closer to His image; bring us to our knees before Him to seek His counsel, wisdom and forgiveness; and take us to the realization that we cannot make it alone without Him. We must be transformed by Him– to be with Him. Trials can create this change in us, and we can understand the joy in the Lord from a Godly view.

Our individual “thorn in the flesh” is hard to bear, but it may be the blessing given to bring about the change that is needed to help us grow as a Christian and remain faithful. Our experiences through trials may also be used to help others with the same problem. Our attitudes toward hardship may bring souls to Christ. All has been done/is done in love—and through joy in the hope given by Christ.

Can we experience God’s blessings through trials? The answer is “yes” for those who remain faithful and persevere through the difficulties of life, through the “thorns” and the trials. The promise of eternity awaits us beyond this mortal clock. No more loss there. No more tragedy there. No more disease there. NO MORE. In the presence of God, only blessings can abound. “Every generous act of giving and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father who made the heavenly lights, in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).

Dear Lord, please help us see the blessings in trial. Help us use these trials to grow and mature in Christ. May we look for opportunities to bless others’ lives through our experiences with hardship.  Help us persevere to the day when it is all made clearer in Your presence.  Amen.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 08/20/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Touch of the Master’s Presence

Raindrops lightly tapping against an uncovered head;

A strong wind pushing a young boy ahead of his steps;

The tree branch brushing across the face of a hiker;

A bee striking the hand of a woman in her garden;

The mother cradling her newborn son gently in her arms–

The Touch of the Master, who was in the beginning,

Creating with the touch of His voice,

Who Is and Will Forever Be a Presence.

We cannot go where the Master’s touch is not upon us.

 JESUS PHYSICALLY TOUCHED OTHERS IN HIS LIFE HERE.

The Master’s touch healed a leper:

A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:3)

The Master’s touch restored sight to the blind:

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25)

The Master’s touch raised the dead to life again:

12 As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then He went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”  15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Luke 7:12-15)

The Master’s touch calmed the fears of the disciples:

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” He said. “Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 17: 5-7)

Touching the Master brought Thomas to belief in the resurrection of Jesus:

25But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(John 20:25-29)

 Although we have not seen, we have each been touched by the Master. We have felt His presence in all of creation around us; our fears have been calmed by His promises; sight has been restored more clearly to us by His Word; healing has taken place within us through His sacrifice; eternal life has been promised to us when we touch the hands and feet of the Savior, feel the nail wounds through faith—and BELIEVE.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 08/06/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word