Having Faith Through Trials
Recently, within the last several weeks my family and I have undergone a series of various trials; from confrontational business deals and bicycle accidents, to our kids catching hand food and mouth disease and spending a week indoors. It seems like when trouble rains… it pours. I know God sees, I know he hears, and I most definitely know that there is power in the name of Jesus. Sometimes however, I slightly wish that I could behave like one of my toddlers and flail myself on the ground in complaint with a little tantrum to God.
I will admit that I wouldn’t be telling the truth 100% if I said my prayer life never consisted of a long laundry list of complaints to the Lord. Most people would tell me that I have every right to complain, and some might even say that letting it out might even make me feel better. After all, the majority of the bad things happening in my life were things that others did to me anyway.
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44-45
Being out in the world is a lot like being out in the rain, just because you are a “good person” doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to get wet if there is a storm out. Hardships and trials are never convenient. It is almost always easier to write God a laundry list of our complaints than it is to thank Him for the good things He has done and the good things He is about to do. God’s heart is to bring forth blessings in our lives not sorrow.
Sometimes in the midst of our hardships it feels as though we have been cornered and isolated by the enemy. We can’t see a way out of the storm and we couldn’t possibly see how God could ever use this for our good. We feel chained to our decisions and misfortunes and we are ready to give in and give up. In Acts chapter 16 Paul and Silas were literally chained, unjustly imprisoned, and ready to give up. They may have even sat there for a while in that cold dark prison complaining to one another and trying to make sense of what had just happened to them. In verse 25 of chapter 16 it says “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” It wasn’t until the late hours of the night that Paul and Silas began to pray and offer praises to the Lord. If you continue to read on in the story in verses 26-34 you will find that while they were praising God there was an earthquake that shook the prison so much that it set all of the prisoners free. Thinking that the prisoners had escaped the jailer was about to take his own life, Paul and Silas then called out to the jailer and told him that all of the prisoners still remained. The jailer was astonished and he along with his whole household accepted Christ as their salvation because of the witnesses of Paul and Silas.
Often times it is so much easier to complain than it is to offer God praise. We can offer God praise because we know that He is already in the victory on the other side no matter how intense or devastating the trial may seem.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
Not only was the jailer and his entire household saved, I think it is safe to assume that all of the prisoners were as well. If they were not saved then perhaps they were later. In verse 25 of Acts chapter 16 it says that Paul and Silas offered prayers and praises to the Lord and that the prisoners were listening to them. After the earthquake I don’t think the prisoners were compelled to not escape because of their good merit. I think they stayed because of the testimony of Paul and Silas. As Christians, we are called to be “Christ-Like” this means the evidence of our faith is based upon our response to the people, events, and things around us. How we choose to respond to hardship and trials determines the type of platform we are going to have for the Lord. Do not let an attitude of complaint keep you from breaking through to the blessing God has for you.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Originally written and posted by Joanna Rogers.