God doesn't just make up tests to see which way we'll act like some deranged lab technician. He already knows what is in us and exactly how we'll react. We are the ones in the dark: God is Light. We really need to understand our hard times from His viewpoint, if we would like to live by the peace of Christ whenver we are caught in any trial. Odd as it may appear to be, every trial is carefully tailored to repair our emotional brokenness.
The trial is at no time for His benefit or to please His curiosity. It is never irrational, but develops from the ordinary path of events in a real world, events that we have contributed to initiating. The testing is about exposing to us two things: our own weak spots and His fantastic, never-failing love and mercy.
This is why nobody does well in a genuine test--at least not the first time it occurs. At the root of every test is the bottom-line question of trust. If our trust levels in God had been sturdy in the spot being tested by the current predicament, we would barely feel tested whatsoever. But the reason the test feels like such a trial is always as a result of it is sounding out an area where our ability to trust God is poor or totally undeveloped.
Consider these recommendations for how to survive gracefully in a trial.
1. Get "buck naked" in prayer. Pray like the psalmists wrote! When Job finally let it all out to God in extreme honesty, God moved with great grace to deliver him.
2. Share your struggle with close friends. Request piles of prayer. Be transparent and vulnerable, but only with the right ones (remember Job's consolers)!
3. Hang in there until you get the hang of it. One particular thing in you is being crucified. You will hear yourself sharing, "This is killing me!" Your old nature doesn't wish to die gracefully, but let it. It won't kill you to lose that anxious part of yourself. It will literally set you free.
4. Keep slogging forward. If you pull back, it means failure, greater trouble and the consequence of a wilderness relationship with Jesus. You may not be able to make things better in a trial, but you definitely can make them worse!
5. Spend more time tuning in to your heart, rather than staring at your predicaments. The ordeal isn't about what you did "wrong" in your outer life, but what is not right in your heart. Your trust in God needs building up. Strive to enter into heart peace and serenity, rather than crazy or anxious activity.
6. Set your heart on total obedience, no matter what it costs . What have you got to lose? If you fear obedience, you aren't trusting Him. Make a straight path for His Word to come to you, by deciding to follow any step He shows you.
7. God desires our complete, no-ifs-ands-or-buts surrender, so that we can take joy in the blessing of His complete, unlimited love. There is no peace without surrender; no way that works out, but His way. When you come to the stage where you will settle for getting His peace back on any terms, you are very close to the conclusion of the trial.
8. Try to remember the real work we are to do is put our faith in Him (John 6:29). The trial is God's gymnasium for increasing our ability to trust and obey. Revitalized trust takes the "fire" out of any trial.
9. That which is carried through the fire of testing with us--whether it is peace, or submission, or confidence in listening to God--becomes forged right into us as tested and proven character.
These 9 pointers won't protect you from entering different trials, but they will enable you to learn the way to survive them and point you towards eventually learning how to thrive in the center of any trial. If that appears like an impossible goal, then settle down and first learn how to survive.
Once you learn how to move through your trials sticking to the peace of Christ, you will be motivated to learn the way to express joy in the thick of them. Then you will unquestionably know what it is like to live in the Spirit by flying above earthly trials on wings of faith!
Steve Evans loves helping believers discover inner peace
and freedom. Like to find out more about healing your emotions? The key teachings of his popular workshop, Matters of the Heart, are free on the web. Begin now and receive your gift copy of his offbeat ebook, An Illustrated Guide to the Spiritual Life