Monday, February 8, 2010

Where is Jesus in the Trials?

All of us are faced with trials, difficulties and crises. The past two months were very trying for me personally. James 1 says to "Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials", but I don't know that I've ever been able to do that.

The Nature of Man vs. The Nature of Jesus
My nature is to resist and run from trials, trouble, conflict, hardship, difficulty. I kick and fight, cry and whine. I want Jesus to take me out of trouble, and solve the difficulty. I want Jesus, but I don't want the trials.

Jesus' nature is totally different. He began his journey to the earth by emptying himself, becoming less -- a man. He became a lesser man, a servant; and then he died a shameful, torturous, criminal's death (Phil. 2:6-8). His direction was toward difficulty, hardship and trial; toward rejection, hatred, and pain. And he didn't turn back.

Paul says that I am to have the attitude that Jesus had (Phil. 2:5), that I am to lay aside the old nature, and take up Christ's nature (Rom. 6, Col. 3).

Consider it All Joy
Albert Barnes says that we aren't supposed to consider our trials "as a punishment, a curse or a calamity", we are to consider it joy. What impacted me in his statement is that it is easy to question if our adversity is coming from God being displeased with us, or maybe it is coming from sin in our lives, or even from the devil himself. But James' exhortation to us is to first consider it joy, not defaulting to the position that maybe we sinned and brought trials on ourselves.

Hebrews 12 talks about God disciplining those he loves. This word doesn't specifically imply punishment, but rather training. Trouble is a natural part of living. And God is resourceful enough to use all of life for my discipline, for my training, for my good.

Where is Jesus in the Trials?
I've recently learned to move the question mark in the above statement: Where is Jesus? In the trials.

I want Jesus. But I've found when I try to distance myself from my trials, I am moving in the direction opposite Jesus. If I want Jesus, I need to put on His nature and not bail in the struggle.

A Great Picture
Three men's response to the greatest trial of their lives was, "God is able to deliver us, but even if he doesn't..." And Jesus went ahead of them into the fiery furnace and met with them there.

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Anonymous said...


Jerry said...

Very very insightful David ! When i said i wish i had been born 40 it was because some of these understandings came to me as well. I often wish i could be a better testimony to these things in my trials but often i forget them. jer

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