"5 Ways God Works for Us in Our Trials"
The Many Forms of the One Who Serves
"...[N]ever forget that I am with you every day..." (Matthew 28:20)
The Lord is still showing up in the midst of His people. It would be easy to look at the COVID situation and circumstances surrounding it and miss Him in the midst of it all. But I say to you that you're not going
to miss Him! For He's going to show up at your house. He is going show Himself to you, to your children, to singles, to widows, to widowers, and to others. Just watch for Him to come! I hear Him saying, "...Am I not here as the one who serves you?" (Luke 22:27).
He's coming to serve you and you're going to see Him work miracles.
Many times He's come to me and I've failed to recognize it. Lately, I have had so many dreams where I didn't know that it was Him until
I awoke. The reason I didn't recognize Him was that He came to me in a different form than how I was used to seeing Him. One time, He came disguised as an angel, another time as one of my friends, and another time as only a voice speaking from around the corner
You may remember that Jesus, the Bridegroom-King, came to the Shulamite in many different ways and forms as well. He came to her as a shepherd, as the leaping Lord of glory, as a gardener, and as
the Gethsemane man dripping with the dew of the morning. And Jesus also came to the disciples on the road to Emmaus and they didn't recognize Him either. It wasn't until He had gone that they realized that it was Him all along.
"All at once their eyes were opened and they realized it was Jesus! Then suddenly, in a flash, Jesus vanished from before their eyes! Stunned, they looked at each other and said, 'Why didn't we recognize it was Him?...He unveiled for us such profound
revelation from the Scriptures!'" (Luke 24:31-32)
A Recurring Dream
Recently, I've had several dreams of huge crowds of people. In the dreams, they
were all crying out to the Lord and saying such things as, "Why are You not coming to help us? Why are You taking so long?" And I've been reminded of David who basically said the same thing in Psalm 13:1: "I'm hurting, Lord—will You forget me forever?
How much longer, Lord? Will You look the other way when I'm in need?"
I can tell you that His answer is an emphatic "No, I will not look the other way, nor have I." Unexpected trials and tribulations may
come your way, but so does the glorious revelation that Jesus is with you in it. And not only is He with you and me, but He's gone before us through our darkest hours, and He'll continue to lead us through to the other side (as He's done before) where all
is glory and peace. God's loving and watchful care over our lives is eternal. He's given us all the life and the Blood of His Son. He'll never disappoint those who trust in Him!
The Lord is saying, "Today
is not your day to give up and neither is tomorrow, or the day after that, or ever. It's time to seize the day! Carpe diem! I won't let you be a fulfillment of the devil's dreams, for I have dreams for you. Together, we will kick out the enemy and you will
leave the pity-party behind. It's time to get up and get out. For I have set My love on you. Can you hear Me? I'm calling your name, for I have need of you and have great plans to use you!"
As long as
this earth endures there will be trials and suffering. It's inevitable! But it's also inevitable that as long as we have suffering, Jesus will be with us serving us up good, though we may not recognize it or Him at the time. Your trials and sufferings are
working together to bring you good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11).
"Through [your] faith, the mighty power of God constantly guards [you] until [your] full salvation is ready to be revealed in the last
time [which is today]. May the thought of this cause you to jump for joy, even though lately you've had to put up with the grief of many trials. But these only reveal the sterling core of your faith, which is far more valuable than gold that perishes, for
even gold is refined by fire. Your authentic faith will result in even more praise, glory and honor when Jesus the Anointed One is revealed." (1 Peter 1:5-7, emphasis mine)
I decided to look up Scriptures
on trials and suffering, and here are some of my discoveries and my own personal testimonies. (Please forgive me if you've heard some of them already.) I'm sure I could have found many more, but I stopped at five. It might be good if you were to do the same.
You can use my five or find more to work from. I think that you'll discover for yourself that He was with you in your trials and working for you even when you didn't realize it.
5 Ways God Can Use Our
Here are just five of the many ways God can and will use our trials.
1. They can make us stronger.
"And then, after your brief suffering, the God of all loving grace, who has called you to share in His eternal glory in Christ, will personally and powerfully restore you and make you stronger than ever..." (1 Peter 5:10)
The trial: At the birth of our first child I had 34 hours of labor and finally had to have a C-section or face the risk of losing the baby and possibly dying.
The end result: Before the whole
ordeal, I would pass out at the sight of blood or when receiving injections. I even had nightmares about injections as a child. But after my C-section, I was healed of all that fear. I was even able to give myself injections.
2. They can be for the sake of others and rescue them. (Joseph's suffering saved his family from famine and preserved the whole nation of Israel.)
"Even though you intended to hurt me, God intended
it for good. It was His plan all along, to ensure the survival of many people." (Genesis 50:20, emphasis mine)
The trial: As a missionary in training we often had next to nothing for food. One day, we
were sick, without food, and had no gas in the car to go to the doctor. And on top of that, we couldn't pay for a doctor's visit or for medicine if we did go, but we survived.
The end result: When we finally
made it to the jungle to minister to the tribal people in Panama, I understood that all that suffering had been God's way of preparing our hearts. It left us with an empathy and compassion to share our food and substance. We were more willing after understanding
how it felt to go without.
"[Christ] suffered and endured every test and temptation, so that He could help us every time we pass through the ordeals of life." (Hebrews 2:18, emphasis mine)
3. They teach us how to listen and obey God.
"But even though [Jesus] was a wonderful Son, He learned to listen and obey through all His sufferings. And after
being proven perfect in this way He has now become the source of eternal salvation to all those who listen to Him and obey." (Hebrews 5:8-9, emphasis mine)
The trial: When the Lord directed us to leave
all and go to the mission field, I wondered how our families would possibly come to the Lord without us being there to lead them to Jesus.
The end result: As we obeyed the Lord, He took care of our families
at home. Each one of our parents visited us on the mission field and all eventually came to the Lord. I'm sure their visit with us played a major part in their salvation. We know that Brian's father accepted the Lord on his second day while visiting us in
a sister tribal village.
4. They mature us and bring us to a place of ever-increasing glory.
"...God made [Jesus], pioneer of our salvation, perfect
through His sufferings, for this is how He brings many sons and daughters to share in His glory." (Hebrews 2:10, emphasis mine)
The trial: When we were young, new Christians in Bible school, we were sure
that we were ready to go right to the mission field. We were full of our own self-righteousness and begged the dean of students to allow us to skip the Bible school portion; we felt like we already knew enough about the Bible, but the dean did not allow us
to skip the Bible school portion.
The end result: We not only gained a deeper knowledge of the Word of God, but we learned that we were depending on our own glory to get us through. We would have missed
God's training and timing. As a result of attending the Bible school and our interactions with the godly ones there, we came to the realization that it was His glory and not our own that we needed to carry us through to the tribe and through life.
"Yet we don't see ourselves as capable enough to do anything in our own strength, for our true competence flows from God's empowering presence. He alone makes us adequate ministers who are focused on an entirely new
covenant..." (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)
5. They make us one with Him in His resurrection power.
"And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more
fully and to experience the overflowing power of His resurrection working in me. I will be one with Him in His sufferings and I will be one with Him in His death. Only then will I be able to experience complete oneness with Him in His resurrection from the
realm of death." (Philippians 3:10-11)
When you experience God's power and grace to make it through a horrible experience, you actually tap into God's resurrection power of miracles.
The trial: I still remember our canoe turning over in the flooding of the Chucunaque River. It threw my husband, Brian, myself, our 5-year-old, 7-year-old, and 5-month old baby overboard. But almost immediately, we saw tiny canoes come racing from
the sides of the river to rescue us.
The end result: I received a revelation of God's resurrection power to save us and a greater faith for miracles. It also left me with the reassurance that we were right
on track since the enemy was so bent on destroying us. When we identify with Christ in His death, we also identify with Christ in His resurrection power (Romans 6:8).
1. Our trials have the power to make us stronger.
2. Our trials can be for the sake of others.
3. Our trials teach us to listen and obey God.
4. Our trials mature us and bring us to His glory.
5. Our trials enable us to receive His resurrection power working in us.
"But that's not all! Even in times of trouble we [can] have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. And this
hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!" (Romans 5:3-5, emphasis mine)
Isn't that great?
Ultimately, it leads us to God's endless love cascading into our hearts!
I prophesy that like a diamond in the rough, or a pearl that's come out of irritation, the suffering you've had to endure has released
in you such an incredible beauty. As a result, you've become more united in your heart to the One who loves you more than any other. He's the lover of your soul, the one who makes all the difference. Though you may not have recognized it at the time, He was
always there in the midst of you as the one who served you. And, now, you can walk free from burdens that once made you stumble!
You will say, along with many others, that once you were weak, but now you're
strong; once you were poor, but now you're rich. And you will finally realize that it's not you but Christ who lives within you, showing Himself strong and rich on your behalf! Oh, what love that we should be called His sons and daughters!
By Candice Simmons
Passion & Fire
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321