Life can be hard, and sometimes as Christians we think it shouldn’t be so. I am sure we all have prayed for relief from the struggle and for things to make life easier. But perhaps that’s not what God has in mind. I believe our 35th president understood this principle.
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” – John F. Kennedy
Whether we like it or not, and I don’t think I’ve met anyone who really likes it, God uses hardship and struggle to shape us according to His plan, not ours. So the advice of John F. Kennedy is very apropos. Let’s see what the Bible says.
According to the Apostle Peter, we should not be surprised when we face trials and troubles.
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;” – 1 Peter 4:12
And what is the purpose of the struggle? That God would make us stronger.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” – 1Pet.5:10
So, as tough as it might be, it is good advice to not pray for easy lives, but rather, pray to be stronger men and women. And also remember that a faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted.
September 3, 2010 8 Comments
Today’s Bible or Not quote is about staying the course in our service and worship to God even in times when it seems everything is going wrong, and it seems like God is not listening. In this popular Christian music song by the band Casting Crowns, the writer sings about the falling rain and that “once again I say ‘amen’ and it’s still raining”. And even though God is not answering the prayer at that moment, the singer still sings:
“I will praise you in this storm”. – Casting Crowns, 2005
This is not unlike the attitude of Job when he said “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord”. Yes, this is NOT easy.
To all of those struggling with trials and issues of life and faith, today’s quote is for you. Also, here is a Bible verse about how God will pull you out of such times.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you”. – Isaiah 43:2 (New King James Version)
Answers may not happen on our timetable, or in the way that we had imagined, but one way or another they will come. Hold tight.
August 18, 2010 4 Comments
This quote on faith sounds like something vaguely from the book of James:
“A faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted.”
It was written by the notable self-help and spiritual author John C. Maxwell. It’s during the trying times in life that our faith seems weak and sometimes absent, however, the Bible teaches that it is in God’s design to refine His people like gold is refined in the fire. Maxwell understands and teaches this concept in his writings, knowing that our faith is strengthened, and deepened, by the tests and trials of life. However painful, and contrary to our natural thinking, trials are actually good for us: at least from God’s perspective.
Similarly, the Apostle and brother of Jesus, James clearly understands this concept and takes it to a level way beyond our natural thinking.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:2-4 NKJV
We also find many other Bible verse and passages plus Christian books explaining this spiritual truth that to build a strong faith, it must be tested. If we think about it though, this should make natural sense. No athlete has ever built up his or her muscles and skills without experiencing the pain of training. And to the most successful athletes, there is joy in training and in pushing their bodies to the limit in competition – they joy in the pain knowing that it produces the desired results. And once the body is operating at that level the experience becomes euphoric (consider the runner’s high).
If we are truly committed to our faith in God, then we will and must be tested. And no, it won’t be fun in the short run. However, as we mature in our faith, and persevere through trials, we develop patience, and experience, and hope (Romans 5:1-4) . Which leads us to stronger faith. This is the way God has designed it, so as we face adversity and trial, as hard as it may seem to be, remember that God is refining us as silver and gold. And in the end, all things work together for our good and things happen for a reason.
March 8, 2010 2 Comments