Last week, I wrote how we often designate our prayer life into two categories.
Areas we bring to God and the areas we try to handle ourselves.
The conclusion was that God should be invited to fellowship in ALL of life with us.
This week I want to identify another area that we tend to categorize in an unbiblical way.
Sometimes as we go through a valley, we tend to designate that portion of our life as “off duty”
from being a light for Christ.
Suddenly we have blinders on and all we can see is how our trial is about us and affecting us.
We end up putting our trial in a different category from the rest of our lives,
falsely exempting ourselves from service to other’s needs when it comes to us dealing with our trial.
When it comes to our hardship, we often see no eternal purpose or have no eternal vision
for what we are going through outside of ourselves.
If we think of our trial only for OUR learning or chastisement, we are missing the bigger picture.
We are missing a biblical, eternal view of our mission here.
What is our mission?
To bring glory to God and to be a light in the darkness in every circumstance.
Wait. Let’s backtrack for a second.
Perhaps we aren’t even thinking of our trial as a benefit to our own selves, let alone someone else.
So many times I have heard folks complain of hardship, one complaint after another,
never considering that trials lead to their own benefit.
Their faith and trust will grow.
God will give abundant grace.
The affliction benefits them personally.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I might learn thy statutes.
Behold, I have refined thee,
but not with sliver: I have chosen thee
in the furnace of affliction.
And we know that all things work together for
good to them that love God, to them who are
the called according to his purpose.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
II Corinthians 12:9
So step one, we must realize our trial is not a curse or without purpose in our lives.
God will use it to enrich our lives and our relationship with Him.
Now, back to our mission. God’s glory.
In the Bible, we are always shown examples of how every part of a person’s life belongs to the Lord.
Every moment we are in has the potential to be used for God and His purpose.
We must not isolate our
interactions and trials to only be about us.
Consider our Savior. Even facing death and abandonment, Jesus made His trial about others.
Nothing He went through was for Him alone, but rather was for the glory of His Father and the benefit of mankind.
Every interaction we have with another life can impact their life, even their eternity.
Our trials are not just about us. Not every trial is to test only OUR faith.
That could only be true if we lived alone on an island and we were guaranteed to never see another human again.
Only then could our trial be all about us and our own relationship with God.
But we are not alone.
We interact with people every day.
The cashier at the dry cleaners, grocery store, or gas station.
Our family or church members.
Our co-workers or customers.
Our doctor, lawyer, or insurance agent.
These are all eternal souls with the same spiritual need as you and me, to know God deeply.
Sometimes God is allowing things to happen to us so He can carry out His plan in the lives around us.
We have to see beyond our trial.
The way we handle a trial can have a huge, positive or negative impact on those watching us.
And someone is always watching.
What are you going through?
Cancer? Divorce? Grief over a loss? Parenting trials? Financial crisis?
Or just the general craziness of life?
Who else is involved?
What opportunity is here?
How can we use this trial to make an impact?
How can God’s Word get lifted up?
Do you have cancer?
Think of all the people you meet because of this diagnosis.
Have you been in a car accident?
What people has this brought into your path?
(For me, my accident led to a concussion, four months of physical therapy, a five-month complete halt
on the work on my album, and great financial hardship.
But this trial also led to opportunities to be a light to the man whose car hit me, my doctor,
my physical therapist, my lawyer, and my family. And God taught ME a lot of wonderful things too.)
Are you in line for an hour at the post office?
Who did you get to wait with?
Are you in a plane sitting on the tarmac, delayed?
What opportunity has this inconvenience provided?
Is your dryer broken down again?
Would you have crossed paths with the repairman otherwise?
Have you suffered terrible loss?
How can you now uniquely comfort one who has suffered in the same way?
The things we go through in life are not just teaching US something.
That can become a selfish way of thinking.
Remember, two relationships are involved in every trial.
Our relationship with God and our relationship with others.
No trial we go through is exclusively for ourselves.
God always has a purpose and that purpose always involves other humans.
Have you ever considered how your trial may be meeting someone else’s need?
Our trial may put us in someone’s path because they need prayer.
Our trial may put us in someone’s path because they need to see that peace really can be
attained, even through the worst of circumstances.
Maybe our trial crosses someone’s path because they need the gospel.
Maybe our trial intertwines us with another life because our light shows them
a glimpse of humanity, which God uses to soften their heart.
A very wise pastor once said from the pulpit,
“Is the way you are interacting with that person going
to hinder your ability to give them the gospel later?”
Every trial we endure and every interaction should have us seeing with eternity in mind.
If we feel trapped in a trial, perhaps our focus has become inward only.
Stop yourself from thinking this way.
If we want to be Christ-like, we must see beyond our selves, even in the worst hardships.
We will experience tremendous blessing if we view our trials as an opportunity to become a vessel
for God’s purpose.
What if our trial is private and no one knows we are even experiencing it?
The work that we let God do within us during that trial will prepare us
for service to others in the future.
As we beseech God for wisdom, grace, and provision for our trial,
let’s remember to ask God to open our eyes to His vision.
Let’s ask Him to help us be a light to those around us even in our time of darkness.
If we move through life with an eternal vision, we will have an eternal impact.
As Christians, we are always working. There is no “off duty.”
Truly, someone is always watching.
Everything we do, including enduring a trial, gives us the opportunity to model
characteristics of the Savior.
Through our grief, through our joy, through our trials, through our celebrations,
let’s seek out how we can use these opportunities for God’s glory.
According to my earnest expectation and my hope,
that in nothing I shall be ashamed,
but that with all boldness, as always,
so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body,
whether it be by life, or by death.
For me to live is Christ,
And to die is gain.
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