Every Day Light
"Some extra practice"
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds —" (v. 2)
For reading & meditation:
The Bible is replete with instances of God's wisdom moving men and women through the most difficult times to the most wonderful ends. Take Abraham for example. Although he is known in Scripture as the "the friend of God," he was capable of some shabby behavior. On one occasion he actually compromised his wife's chastity (Gen. 12:10-20), and later, submitting to her pressure, fathered a child by Hagar, their maid (Gen. 16:1-16). Then, seeking to avoid Sarah's hysterical recriminations, he allowed her to drive Hagar away from their household (Gen. 21:8-21). Clearly, Abraham was not a man of strong principle and there were great flaws in his character. But God in wisdom dealt with this man and brought him through some great trials until he was changed from a man of the world to a true man of God. The same wisdom which ordered the path Abraham trod orders our lives. We should never be taken aback when unexpected and upsetting things happen to us. We should recognize that no matter how hard the trial, God's power will be there to get us through, and God's wisdom will ensure that the trial will be worth more than it costs. I like the almost tongue-in-cheek way Jim Packer describes what may be God's design when He permits us to go through trials: "Perhaps he means to strengthen us in patience, good humor, compassion, humility, or meekness by giving us some extra practice in exercising these graces under specially difficult situations." "Some extra practice." Some of us, myself included, sorely need it.
Father, help me grasp this truth once and for all, that Your wisdom ensures the trials I go through are worth far more than they cost. You are more committed to making me like Jesus than I am myself. It hurts sometimes, but deep down I am grateful. Amen.
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