Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thoughts on Trials

Adapted from a post on 12/30/2012 in the Sermon on the Mount memory club for Matthew 5:10-12, and reposted in my Online Journal there, as memory club posts tend to "disappear" (get bumped off) into cyberspace after about 10 additional posts.

Matthew 5:10  -- 
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Matthew 5:11 -- 
Blessed are ye, 
when men shall revile you, 
and persecute you, 
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, 
for my sake. 
Matthew 5:12 -- 
and be exceeding glad: 
for great is your reward in heaven: 
for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Note: You'll have to join the FAST Online Bible School and then the Sermon on the Mount Memory Club in order to read the original post. It's free to join, has been a blessing to me -- and I know the founder personally; he's even stayed in our home.

The original post was a response to an online friend who was really struggling with trying to do right and getting a lot of flack for it:

I think it is common for those who are honestly trying to do right to feel alone and persecuted. I know I struggle with those feelings at times. When Satan tempts me that way, though, the Holy Spirit reminds me that Christ, too, must have often felt that way, and it makes life easier.
I also have to examine myself closely at times like those, to make sure I'm really doing what is right, and not being buffeted for genuine faults (I Peter 2:20). 

1 Peter 2:20 -- 
"For what glory is it, 
when ye be buffeted for your faults, 
ye shall take it patiently? 
but if, 
when ye do well, 
and suffer for it, 
ye take it patiently, 
this is acceptable with God." 

If I'm in the wrong, then I can't complain about troubles. Instead, I need to ask God for strength, and a willing heart, to change. If, after comparing my course with Scripture, I am doing the best I can to follow the principles laid out in the word of God, I still can't complain about troubles, as Matthew 5:10-12 points out.
When I originally wrote this, we were visiting our oldest son and his wife and our little granddaughter. We were nearly finished putting a 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle together, and it reached the point where all that was left was a pile of (seemingly) "nondescript" pieces, pieces that all looked about the same.
After I went to bed, I started thinking about those pieces. They seemed like my life at times -- a jumble of "pieces" that don't seem to fit anywhere. I realized that, just as all those pieces have a place in the puzzle, and that, without them, the puzzle would be incomplete, so the (apparently) random troubles and trials I face are all part of God's big picture for my life. When He is through with me, I'll see how they all fit into one beautiful picture, just as our puzzle was a beautiful picture when I got up the next morning, and our children (we have four, plus one daughter-in-law) had finished it. (I went to bed before it was done last night.)
Keep your courage up when things go wrong. God has an exquisite picture for your life, one you won't see in it's fullness until the earth made new, but one which He can see now. His all-knowing hand is carefully fitting each piece into its proper place!