“Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous, But the Lord rescues him from them all” [Psalms 34:19, AMP].
The life of a Christian is not without challenges, sufferings, tests, trials, persecutions, and troubles. To deny that such things happen to Christians will be unbiblical. In the Bible, they are described as “many are the afflictions of the righteous” and “a thorn in my flesh”. Apostle Peter calls them “sharing in the sufferings of Christ”. Then the master Jesus forewarned us of offenses, tribulations, and persecutions. In the parable of the wise and foolish builders, Jesus did not say that the wise builder did not experience any issues. In fact for both of them, He said that “the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house” [Matthew 7:25,27, KJV]. The question is not whether or not the Christian will face troubles. Rather, the question is what will your response be in the face of such situations?
6 years ago, I traveled out of the country for a 3-week vacation. During that trip, I contracted intestinal protozoa from the food I had eaten. Despite the considerable amount of pain I endured, from those organisms swimming in my stomach, and the very unpleasant side effects of the medicine I took to get rid of them, they did a great job for my weight. By the end of the ordeal, I had shed most of my love handles, had a newly defined tummy that was “caving in”, there was no huffing and puffing when I climbed up a flight of stairs and above all, I felt good! For me, this ordeal had done for me what months of my irregular gyming had failed to do. The effect and impact of tests, trials, and tribulations in the life of a Christian can be likened to the effect my swimming friends had on me; the process can be very challenging, but the end results are worth it.
As Christians we have been given victory over the world, because the Greater One lives in us. When we live like the wise builder, building a strong foundation on the solid rock of God’s Word, it doesn’t matter the severity of the challenges or persecution we face. Whether the wind roars, the storms rise and beat against our house, we will remain unmovable and unshakable. Even in the midst of those trials and challenges, we will abound in good works, bearing fruits that bring glory to the Father. When my swimming friends uninvitedly invaded my stomach, I despised every minute of them being there. Nothing I ate stayed in my system for more than 10 minutes and it felt as if my stomach walls where their boxing ring. Sleep eluded me from the jabs being taken by them. Yet, later when I looked at the work they had done for my weight, the pain and suffering paled in comparison.
Faith comes by the hearing of the word of God [Romans 10:17], but that faith needs to be exercised to strengthen it. Challenges, tests, trials, persecutions, and sufferings are the gyms of life where you get to flex your muscles of faith and strengthen them. In those situations, when you put your faith which you have built through the Word of God to work, you make your faith stronger and stronger. If we need an example of this, it can be seen in the life of Jesus. The Bible says, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God-he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever…When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls” [Hebrews 12:2, The MSG].
Don’t be afraid of challenges, tests, trials, sufferings or difficult situations when they come your way. They are your opportunities to show what you have got inside of you and what you have put in you through the study of the Word of God. You are victorious, more than a conqueror and an overcomer through Christ Jesus. In the midst of it all, remember to “give thanks in all things for this is the will of God for your life” [1 Thessalonians 5:18, KJV] and to count it all joy, because your attitude determines the altitude of your victory. Approach those situations this way and see the mountains of your life move by the power of the Holy Ghost. Soon all the love handles of fear and doubt will melt off, the bulging stomach of weak faith will disappear and you will become strong in your faith; complete and lacking nothing.