Monday, November 5, 2007

Lesson 8 - How do you handle trials?

Do any of us want trials? I would dare say we would all say No. None of us like to suffer. The Bible gives us clear direction on what to do in trials. Read James 1:2-8. James tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials. I'm sure some of you maybe saying you have got to be kidding!!

First, of all we need to look at some background information about James. James was the first of the New Testament books that was written. James was talking to new Christians who were often poor and facing all kinds of persecution. Often the new Christians had been dispersed and were all over the world, as they knew it at that time. So, often these Christians were in small groups and had little support. Can you imagine moving to a far off country and receiving a letter from your current pastor with these words, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."

What is James saying and what does he mean? Often when we experience trials we grow in our faith. We learn that God is ultimately the only person we can truly depend on. You may have met people and I have said this myself, "I wouldn't change the trial I went through for anything, because I grew so much in my faith and learned more about God." I have been there and I can truly testify that trials strengthen our faith.

Verse 5 is a great verse. If we lack wisdom ask God and he will give generously. How many time have you been in a situation and don't know what to do. We are to clearly ask God for direction and wisdom and he will give it. God holds and knows our future, why shouldn't we ask him.

Verse 6 warns us about how we ask for wisdom. We must have faith and believe that God will answer us. We cannot be double minded. Either we trust God to do what he says or we don't.
I often find it helpful to look back over my life and see all the times that God has been faithful. Count my blessings. If God has been faithful once, why won't he be faithful again. God can be trusted. He will never leave us or forsake us.

So, what is ultimately the purpose of trials. Often, God is teaching us something through our trials. Are you listening? Are you asking him what he has for you to learn so you can mature and grow in your faith? Let's be honest. Most of the time when we experience trials our first reaction is God get me out of this and quick. I don't want to learn I just want relief? Am I correct on that? Sometimes we need to slow down and ask God what he is trying to show us during a difficult time.

So, here are some questions for you to ponder and feel free to share on the blog:

1. How do I perceive trials? Do I want quick relief or am I seeking God's purpose?

2. Do I want to learn perseverance?

3. Do I ask God for wisdom for every day things going on in my life and the big things
as well?

4. Do I really trust that God will do what he says he will do?

5. Can I really experience joy in the midst of trials, especially if it means I am
growing in my faith?

6. Is my ultimate goal to grow in my faith or to prevent going through hard times?

I have to admit most of don't want to sign up for trials, but we all experience them. The next time you are going through a trial. Seek God's presence and ask him what he wants you to learn. I think if we don't try to learn and grow through a trial, then often the trial is wasted.
God will never leave us and we have to trust that he knows best.

Please share your thoughts after completing this Bible Study.

9 comments:

Michelle said...

This one really applied to my life at the moment. There are a lot of "trials" going on in my life, and I find myself praying for God to basically just make it all better. This lesson showed me that I should be thankful for these trials & try to learn what God is trying to teach me. Not an easy thing to do!

Another thing that I am struggling with is trusting God. I have always said that I do, but I worry all the time, to the point of being physically ill. I've realized that I am being "double-minded" in saying that I am a Christian & that I trust God...and yet not trusting him to take care of me. So, that is something that I am working on. I'd appreciate any advice & prayers! Thanks.

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coach Kimberly said...

Hi Michelle,

I think we all want to avoid trials and yes it is hard not to worry. I have read an excellent book called Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. You can find it on the resource page at www.christianworkingmom.com. She uses Biblical prinicples to help with worry. I have also learned the hard way that worrying really never solves anything. If it is a problem that I can take action on, then take action if not then I don't need to worry. Another easier said than done. I will pray for you.

Charisma said...

HI ALL, This is speaking so clearly to me! I often ask myself or doubt myself because when I read something like this or catch myself not fully trusting God--I feel guilty? Who am I to doubt him even if I am not " out and out" doubting him? My husband is currently working out of town, he comes home on his 2 days off but he is 2 hours away and I am home with our 6 children. HE had to to take this position in the bigger city because financially we were suffering in the small farming town that we live. We put our house on the market the week that he left and that was July 4th. The market for selling houses had been very good up until that point, because our town is getting growth , so currently the town has a population of 5000--they are buliding 200 houses a few blocks from where we live, for a very nice price so it is pretty much flooding our housing market. I have asked God so many times--" are we supposed to move?" DO I wait this out ? or does my Husband just need to try and find a job closer to home? SO I have done a fast, I have prayed, cried, gotten angry, none of it helped and nothing has happened. FInally I have just come to peace with everything and I will wait for God's timing. SO I really think this whole thing was just a big lesson , I need to learn to trust him , have patience and WAIT! SO I am hoping my next trail won't be learning how to trust god or have patience because this is a hard lesson to learn! I think just as much as I need to look back and see where God has really come thru for me, I also need to recognize what the lessons are...so maybe next time I can say...I have been here I know what to do this time!

Coach Kimberly said...

Charisma,

Thanks so much for sharing. Patience is definitely the hardest lesson for me to learn. I certainly understand the whole range of emotions. You are working hard at keeping everything going. I pray that God's timing (which is perfect) is sooner rather than later. Keep us updated.

Sarah said...

Hi! I just found out about your site and I love it! Thank you so much for this bible study! It spoke mountains to me. I have been going through a lot emotionally with my marriage. I am married to a wonderful Godly man, but he just doesn't cater to my needs like I feel that he should. I have been praying and crying that God would help me through this. And then last week it occurred to me that I have been praying all wrong. I don't need to just get through this bump in the road, but I need to learn from it. God immediatley revealed to me that I was being selfish! My husband hasn't changed in the 13 years that we have been married. He is the same person that I fell in love with and he isn't going to change. (He doesn't need to!) I am sure there are things about me that he would like to change as well, but we love each other! Thank you God for never leaving my side, even when I leave yours!

Coach Kimberly said...

Hi Sarah,

Welcome to CWM. Thanks for all the kind words. Wow, what a powerful lesson God is teaching you. I will never grow weary of being thankful that God promises to never leave us or forsake us. He is sufficient to meet all our needs. Thanks so much for sharing.

Jacki said...

This was a great opportunity for me to write some notes in my Bible for my children (10 & 7) about facing trials with God.

I started to write that I seek quick relief from trials when it has to do with a critical health need of my child or spouse, but then I thought--who am I kidding? I WANT quick relief always, but I accept and lay down my desire to God's desire for a timetable...:)

I have had a lot of "no's" lately from God about some issues very important to me; adoption of two children that have been in our lives for two years, a work situation in which I wanted to focus more on suspension rates for students with disabilities, strengthening my marriage on my timetable, etc...

I really felt that I could be used as a Christian woman in these situations...and kind of felt like, "Lord, I want to serve You"..."And this is how I want to serve you"...:)

I know it's ridiculous, God will use me the way He wants. Anyways, I appreciated this Bible study and the focus on seeking God's wisdom and purpose in my life.

I am asking God to reveal what He wants me to learn...

Be blessed - JR, Willow Spring NC

Coach Kimberly said...

JR,

Thanks so much for sharing. Sounds like you are going through a lot of tough times right now. I pray that God will boldly and clearly show you the path He has laid out for you.