I have shared publicly a couple of times that God uses trials to expose us. He uses trials to expose what’s really in our hearts – where we’ve placed our hope. God has used the trials of this worldwide pandemic and my life to expose a lot of false hopes and counterfeit gods in my life – and it’s been very painful. Maybe you can resonate with what I’m struggling through.
• Watching investments dwindle and our economy be dismantled.
• Seeing ministry work with MSU come to a screeching halt.
• Having a computer hard drive crash (never a good time to lose years of work).
• Wondering how this virus will affect my friends and family.
• A future that feels more uncertain than it ever has.
James tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because the testing of our faith develops perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
Paul wrote something similar to the Church at Rome in Romans 5:3-5 ESV:
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Did you see the progression there?
Suffering -> Endurance -> Character -> Hope
It would almost seem like we have to suffer in order to come out the other side of the equation with our hope placed firmly in Jesus.
God wants to help us learn to depend on Him. And as we face trials, He wants us to come to the end of ourselves so that we can learn to fully trust Him: with our finances, our health, our work, and our future.
We are entering into a season in life where our hearts have been and will continue to be exposed. For me, as things are stripped away, I am forced to slow down and ask the question – can I be content without ________ (401K, vacations, work, health, school, March Madness, workout facilities, dreams, etc)? Is Jesus enough?
My encouragement to you is to take the time to slow down, get alone with Jesus, and deepen your prayer life. Go to Him with your wrestling. Take your concerns to Him. Pour out your heart to Him. Ask Him to redirect your eyes off of the temporary and onto the unseen eternal. Ask Him to fill you with hope – the hope of the resurrection, the hope of one day being with Jesus.
God is always about refining – remember His goal is to make you and me like His Son (Romans 8:28-29). You and I aren’t the first to have struggled with our circumstances. God wants to put our lives on display to a watching world. How do we respond to a worldwide pandemic? What really matters to us? How is God at work in our lives? Let’s lean hard into Jesus and point a watching world to Him.