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My Three Most Helpful Passages for Coping With Trials: Part 2

Posted on: August 30, 2016

Trials Part 2.001

WE CAN TAKE NOTHING WITH US, BUT WE CAN SEND IT AHEAD

While we might not be able to say that we have suffered more than most other people, many of us would readily admit that we have suffered more than we expected to when we were young. We typically start out in life with a rosy perspective that often gets tempered by an unpleasant reality.

In last week’s blog, we explored the point that, when responded to with faith and obedience, trials can yield rich temporal benefits.

As James said, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.” (1:2-4)

As we get stronger and our trials make us mature and complete, lacking in nothing, we are better able to meet the challenges of life, giving us a richer and fuller experience.

Trials are not meant to defeat us, they are meant to make us stronger. They are not meant to take from us, they are meant to give to us. So, one way of coping with trials is to focus on who we can become, as a person, by going through trials with trusting confidence in God’s benevolent intentions toward us.

But there is another powerful strategy that helps us cope with trials, and that is to take into account the reality of eternal reward for going through trials with faith and obedience.

Scripture makes it clear that we cannot suffer anything in this life for the Lord without receiving a disproportionate reward.

In Romans 8:18, which is the second helpful passage for me in coping with the trials of life, the Apostle Paul wrote: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

You may say to yourself, “The rewards of heaven are going to have to be pretty spectacular if my present suffering is not worthy to be compared to it!”

Well, okay. That may well be true. And if so, they will be.

Paul is an authoritative source for that statement. Consider his sufferings:

“… imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.  I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27)

These are the sufferings that Paul does not consider “worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  And in 2 Corinthians 4: 17, he says “momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

So, in addition to the temporal benefit of growing stronger in this present life, scripture promises eternal reward for going through trials with faith and obedience.

Randy Alcorn has written a helpful little book called The Treasure Principle.  The Treasure Principle is this:  “You cannot take it with your but you can send it ahead.”

In the book, he imagines a person whose home is in France, but is visiting the U. S. for three months. The person is told that he cannot take anything back to France on the flight home, but that he can earn money and mail deposits to his home bank in France while he is here.

So, he asks hypothetically, “Would the person fill his hotel room with expensive furniture and wall hangings?” Of course not. He’d send his money where his home was. He would only spend as much as required for immediate needs, and would send the treasure ahead, so that it would be waiting for him when he returned home.

Well, in the same way, responding to God in trusting obedience in the midst of trials is another way of sending treasure ahead.

When we submit to God’s will, especially when it is hard, we are eternally rewarded, sending our treasure ahead. When we resist the temptation to resent God for the suffering He allows into our lives, we gain eternal reward.

Keying off the great “love” passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…

  • When we are patient and kind, not envious
  • When we do not brag and are not arrogant
  • When we do not act unbecomingly
  • When we do not seek our own
  • When we are not provoked
  • When we do not take into account a wrong suffered

…we are sending eternal treasure ahead, to be waiting for us when we arrive home.

So, when we look at life with an eternal perspective, we cannot lose. Whatever we lose on earth in faithful obedience to God, we gain in heaven, disproportionately!

So, even though it may be very, very hard, we can submit from the heart to the trials God gives us, knowing that as we do, we are becoming eternally wealthy. As missionary Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep in order to gain that which he cannot lose.”

So, take James 1: 2-4 and Romans 8:18 to heart. Use these passages to reflect on God’s benevolent intentions for your good in the midst of trials, and let them help you respond with faith and obedience. As you do, you’ll grow stronger, more mature and complete, and you’ll be storing up a weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

Next week, we’ll look at the final passage of My Three Most Helpful Passages for Coping With Trials.


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