Today’s reading is from Isaiah 52, where the prophet Isaiah spoke of God’s redemption of the Jewish people after years of oppression.
Pain, suffering, oppression, strife, and difficulties in this life are challenging to understand. I write about this topic often as my studies of the Bible lead me to find meaning and understanding to make sense of difficult times. I don’t question God, by any means, but challenges do cause me to ask questions and attempt to find meaning. The Jewish people turned away from God in different generations, defied His commands, and He punished them. It is difficult to comprehend why God would cause pain and such severe punishment to the Jewish people.
As a parents, we want what is best for our children. We provide guidance to help them choose the right path in life. We do our best to have patience, allow them to make their own decisions, and live with the consequences. Sometimes, our children make bad choices. Sometimes those choices cause minor issues. Unfortunately, their choices can come with major consequences as well. Depending on their age, we as parents are forced to deliver discipline, which is ultimately painful for them and us, or discipline can come others involved in their life.
There should be no doubt that God tests us in our lives. We can see time and time again that God brings challenges into our lives to validate our faith and increase our trust in Him. There are times when God provides discipline in our lives based on our actions and poor choices, just like we do as parents. Here are a couple of verses that speaks to how we should view life’s trials.
1 Peter 1:6-7 – 6 In this you greatly rejoice, through now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials. 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more previous than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – 9 And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in the infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak then I am strong.
Do you feel strong in times of trouble? My first reaction, unfortunately, is resentment, anger, questioning the reason, and attempting to solve the problem. What I fail to realize is that the testing of my faith is an opportunity to build resilience. I have the opportunity to focus on God’s Word, as the potential reasons and meaning may not be known now or is this life, but I must trust God’s plan and purpose for my life is perfect. This is difficult and something I work on each day.
James, Jesus’s half-brother, said in James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
We must rely on the promise that all this world’s trials and troubles are building us up for a perfect purpose and our benefit, which ultimately strengthens our faith and bring us closer to Him.