by Mark Clements
Sunday, April 7
Understanding Our Trials Will Help Us Deal with Them
“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified,” 1 Peter 4:14.
In the early history of the church at Jerusalem, the apostles were often faced with trials. On one such occasion after preaching the gospel and seeing God’s hand of blessing upon them, the apostles were arrested and put into prison. Very soon, God miraculously released them and told them to continue preaching. When the religious Jewish leaders realized the apostles were preaching in public again, they brought the disciples to them, beat them, told them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus and let them go. As the apostles left the council, they were celebrating with one another. They didn’t celebrate because they were freed, but because they were counted worthy to suffer mistreatment for the cause of Christ (Acts 5:17-41).
Imagine being mistreated, abused and even beaten because of your faith in Jesus Christ, but instead of complaining, you give high fives to your fellow church members in celebration! In today’s cultural climate, many Christians are anxious—clinging fearfully with tight-clenched fists to the few remaining liberties they have. This stance tends to produce anger instead of compassion and fear instead of faith. But what if you could see oppression the way the apostles did? Instead of becoming fearful, you were able to celebrate the fact that your faith was making an impact! What if you saw your trials and loss of freedoms as a sign that your faith was making the enemies of God tremble? Then, your faith would probably grow even stronger. Perspective can make all the difference between joy and despair.
JUST A THOUGHT: God knows best how to strengthen your faith.