For the last few weeks we have talked of the Uzzah Syndrome, the mingling of the holy and the profane. Starting next week we’ll go deeper into this topic with an in-depth review of two rainmakers: one, a Biblical Prophet and the other a character from a renowned best-seller. But for now there’s something the Lord has placed on my heart that I’d like to share with you. Below you’ll find excerpts from a sermon by Pastor Steve Cole on Wisdom; chapter one in James. It discusses how to endure trials with joy, or to put it more simply, ‘how do we react to suffering?’.
I have had to spend a good part of my life researching Scripture on suffering so that I could understand what God’s purpose was in the trials I’ve been through. I’ve read a great deal on Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” but even more on 2Corinthians 4, especially the last few verses. I’ve studied 1Peter 1 and have come to understand, to a degree, the glory of the words there. I understand that God does MORE than heal us when He doesn’t make us physically better. And I am a lot more at peace with that concept than I was 35 years ago when all this started.
BUT SO MANY OF YOU HAVE TRUTHS TO SHARE THAT WOULD BE LIFELINES TO ME AND OTHERS. And so, I’m asking you to share with me, those insights you’ve received from God as you have gone through traumatic times: cancer, chronic illness, depression, or any kind of trials that seemed insurmountable yet were glorious because of what you learned about our precious Savior. We are the Body of Christ. Let us teach, comfort, and share with each other to strengthen each other in the Lord. I’d encourage you to share the Bible verses especially that became life unto you. Send them to me at holdinghiswordhigher.com or enter them into the comments section. If I may use your first name only, let me know. Otherwise I won’t.
WISDOM by Pastor Steve Cole
Enduring trials with joy goes against our natural inclination. When trials hit, we’re all prone to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” But that is usually the wrong question. Sometimes, God graciously reveals to us the reason for our suffering, but not always. Often the answer to why we suffer must wait until we’re in heaven. The important questions to ask when a trial hits are, “How can I understand this trial from God’s perspective? How can I navigate through this storm in such a way as to bring glory to God? How can this trial help me grow in maturity?”
Pastor Warren Wiersbe (Be Mature [Victor Books], p. 29) tells about a secretary of his who was going through difficult trials. She had had a stroke, her husband had gone blind, and then he had to be taken to the hospital where, as far as they knew, he would die. Wiersbe saw this woman in church one Sunday and assured her that he was praying for her.
She startled him by asking, “What are you asking God to do?” He replied, “I’m asking God to help you and strengthen you.”
“I appreciate that,” she said, “but pray about one more thing. Pray that I’ll have the wisdom not to waste all of this!” Wiersbe observed, “She knew the meaning of James 1:5.”
So to obtain wisdom from God to endure trials joyfully, the first thing is to recognize your need for it. Then know your God, who is the source of all wisdom. He reveals that wisdom chiefly in His Word through His Spirit to those whose hearts are ready to obey Him. He gives generously and without reproach to all that ask. That leads to the means of obtaining wisdom from God:
Joni Eareckson Tada, as most of you know, was paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident when she was 17. She wrote this about her suffering (Joni [Zondervan], p. 154):
God engineered the circumstances. He used them to prove Himself as well as my loyalty. Not everyone had this privilege. I felt there were only a few people God cared for in such a special way that He would trust them with this kind of experience. This understanding left me relaxed and comfortable as I relied on His love, exercising newly learned trust. I saw that my injury was not a tragedy but a gift God was using to help me conform to the image of Christ, something that would mean my ultimate satisfaction, happiness—even joy. (Cole, bible.org)
That is God’s wisdom on how to endure a major trial with joy! She did not get that wisdom from the world. She did not make it up herself. It came from God, through His Word. If you need God’s wisdom for how to endure any major or minor trial with joy, ask Him in faith and He will give it.
Receiving Trials With Faith
With this new perspective, believing by faith that my trials are given out of love, I can deliberately look for the good that God is bringing from my suffering.
Sometimes the good is hard to see. And the little I do see can feel insignificant in comparison to the pain I’m enduring. It is then that I must remind myself that my afflictions are producing “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). And God has a purpose in each of them.v. 7-18 (Risner, desiringgod.org)
It is with these thoughts in mind that I thought you might like to share.
Click Here to share your experiences. Unless expressly instructed otherwise, the only information I’d like to share with others is your first name only and your story.
For General questions or comments, please click here
I would like to thank my fellow consultants for all their assistance in getting this blog published: Michelle Arrington, Hannah Hall, Ariel Mcgarry, Carol White, Tracy Yoder, and J.P.Wilhelm. Their encouragement and patience have been invaluable to me.
Cole, Steve. “Lesson 2: How to Obtain Wisdom from God (James 1:5-8).” Bible.org, bible.org/book/export/html/22160.
Risner , Vaneetha Rendall. “If God Is with Me, Why Did This Happen?” Desiring God, 28 Sept. 2018, www.desiringgod.org/articles/if-god-is-with-me-why-did-this-happen.