Psalm 73:25-26 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I needed to read this verse today, and, of course, God sent it my way. What encouragement there is in this truth. All we need is God, and all we truly have is God. All other things and people will fail, but, if you are in Christ, God is your Father forever! He doesn't take days off, and He is all powerful. When it seems like the day is a mess and nothing more could go wrong, just remember He is sovereign and loving, and you are being made into the image of Christ!
Here is an old post, from August, 2007, I wrote about being thankful in trials. Five years later, I am still clinging to these truths daily to guide my attitude, check my reactions to trials, and to give me wisdom in encouraging others:
Indeed, this week has not been my favorite. Ryan is in the midst of his month long busy season, and he has been working late a couple of nights a week. When I say late, I mean midnight. With impeccable timing, Carter has also come down with a very bad cold--coughing, sneezing, oozing mucous and generally whining in discontent. The hardest part of Carter being sick is that he doesn't sleep, and when he is awake, he is exceedingly fussy. He cries for a long time before he falls asleep, his once long naps have become an hour long at most, and he wakes up at the crack of dawn. This, of course, cuts into my sleep, which has whittled away my patience and left me crabby and, upon reflection, prone to more sin in my speech and attitude.
What I find most ironic about my sin in this trial is that I JUST finished a chapter about thankfulness in trials the day before Carter got sick. I finished Martha Peace's Damsels in Distress, which ended with a chapter entitled, Be Thankful? You Can't Be Serious!--Trials. It was easy to read that chapter with a good attitude and close it with an "Amen" when I wasn't facing too many challenges. God humbled me immediately. This trial has certainly exposed my need to repent and work on my attitude in trials--even small ones.
Martha Peace gives some wonderful, biblical perspective on trials. She gives three reasons as to why God might put a person through a trial:
1. As Pastor Mike discussed a few weeks ago, God may be pruning us so that we may bear more fruit for His glory. He cuts off "dead" areas in our life in order to harvest wonderful fruit for His purposes.
2. God may give a trial as discipline. Perhaps we have stubborn sin in our lives. God loves us and does not want us to continue in a sin with a hard heart. We know God disciplines us with a pure, holy motive and purpose. Hebrews 12:11 tells us that
"No chastening seems joyful for the moment, but painful. Nevertheless,
afterward, it produces the peacable fruit of righteousness to those who have
been trained by it."
3. Finally, God might use a trial to exposes whether or not our faith is proven genuine. As with myself in this particular trial, I was overly confident in my faith and endurance during trials. God had to show me how shallow my patience and confidence can potentially be. This is an opportunity to mature in my faith. James 2:1-4 explains,
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing
that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have
its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in
The chapter on trials ends with three ways we SHOULD respond when facing a trial. First, we should be grateful to God. Thankful for pain? Yes. As I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, we should give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. I like how Mrs. Peace says that sometimes we might not FEEL thankful, but we need to act thankful. Just as loving someone is sometimes hard, it is a choice and action we show, even when we don't feel loving. Our feelings often follow close behind our choices and actions. We know the trial is for our good, God is sovereign and we are being made closer to His image. This should give us joy and hope--leading to thankfulness.
In addition to responding with gratitude, we need to be convinced of God's goodness. If your doctor calls with worries about a test you just took, or you have a loved one pass away unexpectedly, you will feel grief. However, this grief can give way to hope and confidence because we know that God is loving and good. Focus on the positive--"I have been healthy for so and so years", or "I am so blessed to have known this person who just passed away for thus and thus time." As Pastor Mike has said in his sermons, do not ask why bad things happen to good people. No one is good but God. Ask why in the world God allows any good to happen to BAD people (that is all of us, by the way). God's goodness will never change, despite our circumstances.
Finally, we need to respond to a trial knowing that God loves us. If you are a believer, you know God loves you dearly. As I John 4:10 says,
"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His sonWe even know the discipline found in some trials comes from love (Hebrews 12:6). No matter what trial God allows, you can never doubt his love. This gives us comfort and a soft place to turn for peace when the tempest is billowing around us. God is gently keeping us close to Him, steering us away from our own sinfulness. He loves us profoundly.
to be the propitiation for our sins."