Finances, especially after Christmas. Marital and relationship strains. Getting to work and school. Sickness and braving the cold!
So many in the body of Christ are going through trials and hard times right now.
What are these trials good for? We may feel baffled and perplexed wondering what God is doing through it all.
2 Corinthians 4:17 says our momentary light affliction is working within us a far more exceeding weight of glory... where's the glory? So often, we are so earthly-minded that all we see is pain.
Good old Jacob cried in the Bible, “All these things are against me!” What things? His beloved Joseph was long gone, severe famine raged in the land, and now his sons had to take his beloved Benjamin back to Egypt to prove that they were not spies. Little did Jacob know, the wagons were coming with news that there is plenty of food in Egypt, and that Joseph was not only alive but a RULER in Egypt!
Like Jacob, we may not understand what God is doing in our trials right now, but we must never forget there is a purpose in it all. Jesus put it best in John 13:7, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
We must quiet our souls, and trust that our all-seeing, all-knowing, all-gracious God is working these trials out for good. A beautiful tapestry has many tangled dark threads and knots on the backside, but turn it to the front and the picture is beautiful! God sees the end from the beginning. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).
A painting may look odd in process, but the final work is a masterpiece! It is unfair to criticize the work until after they have finished picture.
In his classic The Bow in the Cloud, John MacDuff states that Jacob would never have seen Joseph had he not been willing to part with his beloved Benjamin. Sometimes we have to experience unspeakable hurt and loss before we see the glorious work God is doing. Jacob may have cried out, “All these things are against me,” but those very things were God’s machinery!
American poet Fay Inchfawn wrote this:
For working out our hearts imaginings,
For turning hope to blessed certainty.
Oh, man who walked by sight
You should have known the darkest hour of night
Is just before the earliest streak of gray.
Your wagons, all the time, were on their way!
Faith? Yes but with the flaw.
Here was a man who trusted when he saw!
Oh sorrowful soul! Trust just a little longer
Who knows, but o’er your bare, brown hill
The wagons may be coming nearer still?
Give faith a chance. For soon it may
Give place to sight.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-12, 16-18)
Remember, had Jacob not lost the boy Joseph, or offered up the beloved Benjamin, he would not have been delivered by the man Joseph.
May you trust that you will soon rejoice! As Keith Green once sang, “He's brought me here, where things are clear and trials turn to gold.”
We would see Jesus,