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Monday, May 21, 2018

How Problems Force Me to Depend on God

In review of 1 Peter 4:12 it says,  
“Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you” (TLB).

Today’s verse comes from 1 Peter 4:12-13. In it Peter tells me to not be surprised at the fiery trials I'm going through, as if something strange was happening to me. Instead, be very glad, for these trials help make me a partner with Christ in his suffering, so that I will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

There is no mistake, Jesus warned me that I’d have problems in life. And it appears no one is immune from pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life problem-free.

But the apostle Peter assures me that problems are normal, saying, “Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you” (1 Peter 4:12 TLB). God uses my problems to draw me closer to himself. The Bible says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NLT).

My most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in my darkest days: when my heart is broken, when I feel abandoned, when I’m out of options, when the pain is great , and when I turn to God alone. It is during suffering that I learn to pray my most authentic, heartfelt, honest-to-God prayers. When in pain, I don’t have the energy for superficial prayers.

Joni Eareckson Tada notes, “When life is rosy, we may slide by with knowing about Jesus, with imitating him and quoting him and speaking of him. But only in suffering will we know Jesus.” I learn things about God in suffering that we can’t learn any other way.”

God could have kept Joseph out of jail, kept Daniel out of the lion’s den, kept Jeremiah from being tossed into a slimy pit, kept Paul from being shipwrecked three times, and kept the three Hebrew young men from being thrown into the blazing furnace, but he didn’t. He let those problems happen, and each of those people was drawn closer to God as a result.

Problems force me to look to God and depend on him instead of myself. Paul testified to this benefit: “We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us” (2 Corinthians 1:9 TLB). I’ll never know that God is all I need until God is all I’ll I have.

Bottom Line:
Don’t be surprised when you face tough times and trials. It’s nothing usual.

What this means to me:
I should never be surprised when I go through really tough times and trials, for this is not really anything strange or unusual.

In summary, I should never be surprised that problems will happen. No one gets to skate through life problem free. I can use these opportunities to help make me a partner with Christ. God will use my problems to draw me closer to him. After all, when life is rosy, I may slide by without getting to know Jesus more. It's in my times of suffering that I learn more about him and his character. Problems force me to look to God and depend on him rather than myself. I'll never know that God is all I need until God is all I have.

As I reflect on my past few weeks I have had some problems with demand, needs and tight deadlines. In my daily time with you, I have learned more about you and your character. You have brought me through these trials and brought me closer to you. Thank you for helping me with my understanding and my plan of action. I pray this morning Father, “For your continued wisdom and guidance in handling the tasks in front of me. I also pray that you will help me respond rightly to situations that come my way. May they be filled with your character as I look to imitate and please you in my actions. Allow me to be gentle in my responses. Help me to remember my role is to serve. It’s in Jesus name I pray.”

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