Test Trials

 

Child in medicine maskTest trials are also known as “Clinical Trials” and these are implemented when trying to find a specific drug or medical protocol that will attack a certain disease or illness. These are tests of sorts and often, they are “last ditch efforts” to help fight certain types of disease.

The book of James comes out of the gate with some crazy ideas regarding trials of life and suffering. This is a different kind of test. Check this out…

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

12 Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2-4,12 CSB)

I’ve been through a few trials and suffering in my life and I did not think they were great joy. I will submit that the trials and sufferings built somethings inside of me that weren’t there before. I admit that I was pretty “ticked off” at God because of the trials and suffering, but then when I settled down, I realized that He would not leave. He would walk with me through the trial and He always has a different perspective on my trials from where He “sits”. It is very easy to lose perspective during a trial.

I believe that God has taught me things during trials and suffering that I couldn’t have learned any other way. I learned a lot about me and what I was “made of”. I also learned a lot about the faithfulness of The Lord. He is so patient and understanding while I’m reeling and frustrated. He holds me when I’m hurt and angry. He sits with me when I can’t even talk. I have a different perspective completely on all of life. I want Him with me as I celebrate the joy of life and I know He will be with me when I’m in a trial time or suffering time. He helps me make lemonade out of lemons. He helps me navigate through the dark ally of trial and struggle.

In the middle of one particular trial this song blessed me. “Let Me Feel You Shine” by David Crowder Band.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Darkest Before Dawn

 

Country road at sunriseI used to enjoy deer hunting and I’d get in the tree stand before dawn. I’ve heard that it’s “darkest before dawn”, but I’m not sure I really noticed. It did get colder right at dawn or so it seemed to me. That’s a big reason I stopped hunting – I don’t enjoy freezing my behind off in a tree in the early morning hours. (I know that I’m a wimp, but I can live with that!)

Moses and the Israelite people were about to experience a “darkest before dawn” moment. Moses did what God told him to do and went to Pharaoh and ask if his people could go into the desert for 3 days to meet with the Lord. Pharaoh’s response was not only no – he turned up the pressure on Israelite workers. Check this out….

2 Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.

6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7 ‘You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, “Let us go and sacrifice to our God.” 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.’ (Exodus 5:2,6-9 NIV)

We know how the story ends and we know that they will eventually be allowed to leave, but they are a long way from that now. It just got significantly harder for them to simply survive the workload dumped on them as slaves to the Egyptians.

I’m not sure what to say to people who are discouraged because they are in the darkest spot of their lives. I just remembered that Jesus faced the darkness before dawn. On Friday he was beaten and killed via crucifixion. Saturday was a dark day for the world, but on the third day at dawn – He rose from the dead. I just remembered a cool message that Author/Preacher Tony Campolo used to share called: “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin!” You can check it out here.

I try hard to not get stuck when it’s Friday and it’s a dark day. I believe the Lord is with me on the dark days of my life. I believe that He is also with me when dawn comes. He never leaves me alone and never lets me go. He gives me freedom and choice, but He never abandons me as I hang on to Him. Darkness with the Light of the World is not the same darkness that others face. The Lord illuminates my path on the dark days so that I can make it to the dawn.

I won’t quit and I wont’ give up or give in on the dark days because I know that dawn is coming! Help is on the way. I’m holding tight to that hope today and every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne