“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 (KJV)
There are a lot of life lessons that lead us to look to the Lord and listen to His voice. When you have been travailing on tough terrain, strapped with stress and drenched with a downpour of difficulties, giving God glory and promoting praise in pain is a Christ-centered concept that's challenging to embrace. However, difficulty and stressors in our human story is standard with sanctification. Our human experience also echoes the essentially of stress and difficulty for development and discovery. For instance, a long distance runner must be stressed to gain endurance. Sailing the seas gives the sailor his “sea legs”. Soldiers train by setting their sight on war and preparing for battle. For the Christian, in truth, tribulation is tied to us learning how to trust in God. And this learning process develops patience.
By nature we do not pray for patience because we believe that God will take us through “Holy Hard Knocks” in order to learn how to be patient with Him and others. However, the Bible is clear that our sovereign God will sign us up to His school of patience. In this school, our first assignment is adversity. Don’t erase it - embrace it!
We should not advance and long for a tribulation-free Christian life because:
- God is terrific in using tribulation in our lives.
- God is absolutely aware of how much tribulation we can take, and He carefully calculates the degree of tribulation that we face.
Now it's important to note that those who have not trusted the Lord are not exempt from traveling on the tribulation track. But the truth is that a Christian should be willing to be tried; he should be pleased to let his trust in God be put to the test. The duty of difficulty is to develop the disciplines of trust and discover His purposes as opposed to ours.
Whatever wonderful work that tribulation finds us in, it will develop more fully. For example, if anyone is carnal, spiritually feeble and emotionally blind, wicked, conceited and so forth, tribulation will make him more carnal, feeble , blind, wicked and irritable. Conversely, if one is spiritual, strong, spirit-filled, sagacious, slow to speak, gentle and humble, he will become more spiritual, powerful, sagacious, slow to speak and quick to hear, gentle and humble.
So what about you? Do you deliver when you are dumped in difficulty or do you become a drop out of the school of “Holy Hard Knocks”?
Join me again next week for further consideration of the lesson of patience and the truth about the duty of difficulty.
For the Glory of God,