walk in the word
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9, nkjv).
Some of the tough things you and I go through in life are completely our fault. We created them. We asked for them. They are the consequences of our own sin. But other things—other hard things—are often what the Bible calls “trials.” They are difficult circumstances allowed by God to transform our conduct and character. You don’t just stumble into these by accident. God actually leads you into them, just as He will one day lead you out of them.
But along the way, one of His main purposes for taking you into these trials is to show you how strong He is. He wants to help connect you with His sufficiency at a deeper level than you’ve experienced it up till now. He wants to reveal Himself to you (and through you to others) in ways that don’t happen on an ordinary day, when you’re handling ordinary things.One of God’s main purposes for taking you into trials is to show you how strong He is. Click To Tweet
Can you accept that? Can you handle the possibility that perhaps the reason your trial has come is because He wants to display—to you, your family, coworkers, friends, anyone who knows you and your situation—that He has shown Himself strong on your behalf?
When God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, He didn’t take them by the shortest, simplest route. Watch what He did do: “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the people to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea’” (Exodus 14:1–2, esv). Tell the people to turn back—to go backwards! God led them to do this, by giving them the ancient equivalent of street-and-house-number directions.
“For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and”—here’s the part I don’t want you to miss—“I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord” (Exodus 14:3–4).
God led Israel into a dead end. He actually wanted them moved into a location where they would be hemmed in by geography, completely within the sight lines of the enemy, pinned down between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea. It was the last place they wanted to be, but it was the best place for God to “show Himself strong.” Walls of water on either side, with people walking through on dry ground, can leave an indelible impression on everyone who’s there to see it.
And that’s exactly what a trial is for.
Each time people are baptized in our church and share their stories, I hear them tell about others who’ve lived out the gospel in front of them—not just by the nice things they did on the nice days, but mainly by the faithful witness of their lives in hard places and what it revealed about the powerful things God can do when He takes His people through trials.
Do you think God should always provide for you the easiest way possible? When you pray to Him from inside a trial, are you most often asking Him to please get you out of it?
Better question: What if He wants you there to “show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him”?
Father, You know how often I’ve kicked and fought back against some of the hard places You’ve put me in. They’ve seemed too painful, sometimes unfair. They’ve required work and time I didn’t want to invest. But thank You for making sure my preferences were not followed. Thank You for entrusting me with hardship so I can experience You more deeply and be a living example of Your goodness and faithfulness, especially in trial, and always in Jesus’ name, amen.
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