I Am Thankful for Life’s Troubles
God’s mercy in our lives, his working in ways both small and large, and our hearts full of his love are all joyous reasons to celebrate his provision and presence. It is easy to celebrate the good things that come to us in life. It is not as easy to celebrate the hard times that come in life, the times that test, tempt, and try us. These may not be from God, but they are still reasons to celebrate when we overcome through them.
If you are like me, you have experience with these things. Life isn’t always good or easy. Sometimes that is because of the world around us, and sometimes it is because of what is in us. Regardless of the source, we have plenty of opportunity to overcome.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
I am thankful for these troubles not because of what they are intended for, but because of where they lead me. They are, in fact, part of my life’s journey. I am who I am today in part because of them. We live the lives we live, complete with their hubris, yet God our Creator says this to us:
You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. Leviticus 19:2 (ESV)
That seems a tall order, doesn’t it? Be holy? Me? God, do you realize who you are talking to? Peter gives us a lesson on this, saying:
So then, those who suffer for following God’s will should enfold their lives into the Creator, who will never fail them, and continue to always do what is right. 1 Peter 4:19 (TPT)
I don’t always suffer for following God’s will, usually it is my own will that brings consequences I would rather not deal with. I believe, however, that Peter’s instruction is wisdom even when we sin purposefully. We are to “enfold” our lives “into” our Creator, where no evil can exist. This to me, is one of God’s greatest mercies, that he allows us to turn back into him when we confess and repent our waywardness, enfolding ourselves into his very being and thus being subsumed in his righteousness and love, made white again by the Blood of the Lamb who allowed himself to be sacrificed for us.
Life’s troubles, its trials, tests, and temptations intend to tear us down. But when we are faithful to persevere and endure them through God’s grace we emerge better, stronger, and more confident in our own faith and God’s faithfulness. These troubles, meant to destroy us, are instead turned into tools that grow and mature us. What evil intends as a taunt before God becomes his victory. Show me a person who has never experienced such and I will show you a person who has lived a life in hiding. Show me one who has believed, persevered, and endured to overcome and I will show you someone who has learned to trust and depend upon God, to surrender to him in complete abandonment of heart and soul, and to glory in his own weakness before God’s might.
If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, he will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in his hands. Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you. Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong, vigorous faith. For you know that your believing brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing the same kinds of troubles you endure. And then, after your brief suffering, the God of all loving grace, who has called you to share in his eternal glory in Christ, will personally and powerfully restore you and make you stronger than ever. Yes, he will set you firmly in place and build you up. And he has all the power needed to do this—forever! Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11 (TPT)
Our God is a mighty fortress, a God of war, and a God of mercy. He is a God of patience and forgiveness when we turn to enfold ourselves back into him, and I am thankful for his faithfulness through my trials and tests. I’ve failed him often, sometimes profoundly, but he has never failed me, ever. And that is the measure of his grace.