Dr. Marc Drake, Sr. Pastor, First Baptist Church of Sun Lakes
The journey of life certainly has its detours and bumps in the road; and that’s probably putting it mildly! But the good news is that God is in charge and exercises perfect wisdom in working through the various circumstances of life. However, our response to trials and challenges is critical. Do you respond by drawing nearer to God and seeking His face more intently than ever? Or do you complain and become despondent?
Humorist Charles Lowery has suggested some questions for us: Do you see dark clouds in every silver lining? Do you find the difficulty in every opportunity? Do you wear black just in case someone dies? When you smell flowers, do you immediately look for a coffin? Do you shake your head instead of hands? He says that if you answered yes, you are going to be seasick for the entire voyage of life!
So how should followers of Christ respond to the trials they encounter – whether physical, emotional, financial, marital, or spiritual? First, cry out to God. That’s what people in the Bible did (as well as countless others down through the centuries). They learned that God brings His people to the place of utter dependence on Him. Sadly, we often come to that place squirming and resisting, grasping for this or that, trying to make something happen. But God wants us to simply cry out to Him such as we see in Psalm 86:7, “In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, for You will answer me.”
Secondly, don’t stop praising. Matthew Henry wrote: “Be not afraid of saying too much in the praises of God; all the danger is of saying too little.” How true! Make sure that every day your praises ring out to the One who is eternally worthy of our whole-hearted worship. King David had been going through one of the most difficult times in his life (and he had quite a few!) but he declared, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). You see, in the most trying of times we can be assured that God is using trials and difficulties to produce greater Christ-likeness in the believer.
Thirdly, remember that God is faithful. In fact, one of the purposes of adversity is that it takes away those things in which we trust so we can clearly see God’s faithfulness and put our trust in Him. As Christians we are pilgrims down here, not residents. But one day the journey of life will be complete and we will be home – our eternal home. In the meantime, we must keep trusting in our faithful God who leads us every step of the way and meets every need (Philippians 4:19).
Why not write the above three truths on a card and post it in a place where you will see it often: Cry out to God. Don’t stop praising. Remember that God is faithful!