Leading what we believe is a Christian life doesn’t change the reality of the world around us. We can expect the Lord to strengthen us to meet life’s challenges, but there is no such thing as immunity to the trials and tribulations of life on earth. That includes the trials and tribulations that often arise in life—and those that we bring upon ourselves.
So, why do God’s people suffer from the same problems as non-believers and even those who bypass the rules of fair play? Simple, sinful nature. We live in an imperfect world, and God doesn’t promise us a life of joy. Instead, He promises us a life of finding joy in all circumstances. There is a big difference between receiving joy and finding joy.
In other words, when trials and tribulations arise, you’ll be equipped to handle the situation without giving into fear or anger. While the unrighteous unbelievers must face those adversities on their own, the believer has the opportunity to not only pray about situations and circumstances but also to turn them over to the Lord.
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Why would a loving and all-powerful God permit his children to go through such things as financial hardships, diseases, and untold horrors in everyday life on planet Earth? After all, doesn’t our loving Lord Jesus wish us to live an easy and comfortable existence? The answer is no. The Word of God teaches us that our Lord loves His children, and He “works all things together for good” for us. But the more we follow Him, the harder the trials and tribulations will become because He wants to teach us to depend on Him.
And so the trials and tribulations that He allows in our lives are an essential part of the working together of all things for our own good. In other words, believers can be assured that all trials and tribulations carry a divine purpose.
As in all things, God’s ultimate purpose for us is to grow more and more into the image of His Son: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:29 NIV)
However, we must be careful never to make excuses for our “trials and tribulations” if they are a direct or indirect result of our own wrongdoing. If those hardships are of our own making, then we must confess our sin and make proper amends for our bad behavior. God will heal us and provide for us, but that doesn’t mean we won’t suffer from our actions.
When you confess those sins, acknowledge and guard against only having remorse. It’s like the little kid who gets caught eating cookies and says, “I’m sorry.” Is he/she sorry for eating the cookies? Or just sorry that he/she got caught?
There is a HUGE difference between having remorse and repentance. Remorse is simple being sorry that you got caught. Repentance is the ultimate step of asking for forgiveness. Repentance is working hard to understand your own weaknesses and shortcomings to ensure that you don’t make the same mistake again.
Repentance is a powerful concept for the soul. For many years, I struggled with the notion of giving God control of my life. My rationale was that if I give God control, then I won’t be able to do what I want. But what happened in my life—and what I see happening in the lives of others—defies human common sense. The more control I gave to God, the more control of my life I received.
That bears repeating: The more control you give to God, the more control you will have in your own life.
If you are living a life of anxiety, bitterness or stress, what’s the worst thing that can happen if you trust God? Aren’t you already miserable with your current situation? My advice is simple. Give God a chance and see what He does!
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.