By Jim Biscardi, Jr.
“But I trusted in Thee, O Lord: I said Thou art my God. My times are in Thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant: save me for Thy mercies’ sake.” (Psalm 31: 14-16).
Here, David is showing his confidence in God and craving His help. We too can trust our Precious Savior’s strong, compassionate, nail-pierced, and resurrected hands to keep us in our hour of suffering.
There is no trial or temptation we undergo that isn’t common to other men and women. God is always faithful and will not allow us to be tempted above what we are able to bear. He will always provide a way to escape so that we will be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Apostle Peter said that the trial of our faith through the pressures of life is much more precious than of gold that is tried in the fire (1 Peter 1:7).
Just like the goldsmith knows when he sees his image in the gold that it is purified and ready, our Father wants to see His only begotten Son’s image in us. Like the goldsmith, He is careful to make the fire hot enough to purify, but not too hot to break the vessel. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, in as much as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
As a fine jeweler, He is “cutting” the stones perfectly to create the precious jewels that are the foundation of His “showcase city” – the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 21:19-20).
Esther Kerr Rusthoi, in her song “When We See Jesus,” reminds us that all the trials and suffering will be worth it all:
“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.
One glimpse at His dear face, all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.”
In another song by Dan Burgess, who knew the skillful Potter, we sing:
“Thank You Lord, for the trials that come my way.
In that way I can grow each day as I let you lead.
And I thank You Lord for the patience those trials bring.
In that process of growing I can learn to care.”
He never leaves us alone during our trials. He is an ever-present comfort through them all. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5 explains how God uses the trials and suffering we experience: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
When you pour water into a glass, the glass overflows with water. But when suffering is poured into the Christian’s life, over time the Holy Spirit performs a miracle in our lives. Instead of the bitterness, anger, and self-pity that suffering could cause pouring out of the Christian, the comfort of God that comforted us with during our trial overflows from us to others who are hurting. We become a conduit of comfort to them. That may take the form of comforting words, a hug, a kiss, and sometimes just helping them cry. Jesus showed us [with Mary and Martha when Lazarus died] that He wants us to share in another’s sorrow. (John 11: 33-35).
It’s our very personal relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ that gets us through trials and helps us allow the Holy Spirit to use them to benefit us and others. Romans 12: 1-2 encourages us to consider it our reasonable service to surrender to God as living sacrifices and let Him transform us into the image of Christ – to let Him step-by-step radically reduce the competitor to Christ in us [our natural man]. This is like Jacob wrestling at Peniel with the Angel [Christ], who touched and weakened his natural strength. And then called him Israel which means “prince with God.” (Genesis 32: 24-30).
Dan Burgess’ song again captures our response to this training:
“But it goes against the way I am to put my human nature down,
and let the Spirit take control of all I do.
Cause when the trials come, my human nature shouts the thing to do.
And God’s soft prompting can be easily ignored.”
As we run the Christian race, we can become, at times, so hunkered down by our problems that we lose proper perspective. Our problems look big and the power of God looks small. At those times, we need to draw close to our Father and let Him minister to us as He does in Isaiah 40:15, 22. God reminds us in these scriptures that He is much bigger than the world He created.
The eagle, when it senses a storm approaching, flies to the highest peak it can find and waits. When the storm arrives, it extends its wings and lets the wind take it safely above the storm. Similarly, God ministers to us, directs our actions, and gets us through the storms of life. He says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Remember the three Hebrews who were thrown into the fire for not worshipping the image of gold made by Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonian king said, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:25). We are never in the fire alone. If we trust in the Lord with our whole heart, lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him, He will direct our paths. (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
Our training through trials is never easy, but it helps us all stay fit. Spiritually “over-weight and flabby”[untrained and undisciplined] Christians cannot fulfill their responsibilities to our Lord and to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
As a teacher, author, columnist, and president emeritus of New Jersey Christian Ministries, Jim Biscardi has been “privileged for many years to help Christians grow in their knowledge of Christ.” You can find his books at barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com