For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.…
You laid affliction on our backs.
You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
~ Psalms 66:10-12 (NKJV)
My prayer list is long enough to divide into days, to keep it more manageable. (Monday for Missionaries, THursday for auTHorities, Friday for Family, etc.) Additionally, a priority list is reserved for people in my life who are presently going through such intense trial that I wish to pray for them every day.
That priority list defies attempts to keep it short enough to give it due attention. More Christians seem to be going through increasingly intense trials. And numerous post-trial people experience significant struggle with getting past the past.
When does trial become post-trial? When crisis has passed, shouldn't we be able to draw from grace, buck up via the Spirit's strength, and get on with life? Just how does one emulate the psalmist, and transition from "affliction on our backs" into "rich fulfillment"?
Or does it even matter when the present is re-labeled as the past?
"We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."
~ Acts 14:22 (NKJV)
As I counsel others and am counseled, I am assured that certain perspectives and expectations make all the difference, regardless of whether we are entering, enduring, or exiting trial.
1. Sovereign God is in control. Trial may or may not occur as a direct result of my own decisions and actions (free will), but it is always allowed and used by the Almighty to make me more like Jesus and draw me closer into relationship with Himself.
2. Because trial enters my life via the Lord's permission, the agent of the trial (whether person or situation) is therefore agent of the Lord's hand and subject to Him. If I harbor anger (or bitterness—anger grown putrid) toward the agent of trial, I may be resisting the Lord's hand.**
3. If I profess Jesus is Lord, I acknowledge God as Master. Wherever He sends, whatever He asks, I can trust my most benevolent Master to use it for my enrichment. Also, any recompense for a wrong done to the servant is owed to the Master, and should little concern His servant.
"So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' "
~ Luke 17:10 (NKJV)
"Blessed is any weight, however overwhelming,
that God has been so good as to fasten
with His own hand upon our shoulders."
~ Frederick W. Faber
Lord, You are good. You are only good. You are powerful enough to use even what is intended for evil as good. Please empower Your servants as we work on getting past the past, getting through the present, and getting ready for the future. Please let us feel You drawing us close—at ALL times.
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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