Valleys, Furnaces, & Pits

Sometimes the trials in life are brief and sometimes they last for a lifetime.   There are no limits it seems to the types and durations of trials.  One thing is for certain we know they are going to come and we know sometimes they are going to seem overwhelming.  The bible is replete with trials of all sorts, the fiery furnace of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, to the pit of lions that Daniel found himself in, to Job’s loss of nearly everything.  What about David who met the trial of fighting Goliath with confidence but who ran and hid from Saul in fear for his life.  And then there are the trials that Paul…imprisonment, beatings, whippings, stoned, shipwrecked, robbed, lashed, starved, adrift at sea, and without clothes.

But God is the God of hope.  Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Each of the individuals above trusted in God during their times of trial and suffering.  We too must have faith and trust in God to sustain us during those times of trouble.  In them we can have joy and peace by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Paul writes “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”   Gold-Scales-Of-Justice-Icon

Not only are these trials momentary in the view of eternity, but they also achieve for us an “eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (NIV)  Another translation reads “an eternal glory beyond all comparison.”  The eternal glory that is ours from faithfully enduring our trials in life is immeasurable, it is far greater than all that we might endure on this earth.

The more we allow God to refine us through “momentary afflictions” in our life, the more we look like Christ and the more glory we, and others, bring to God.  Second Corinthians 4:15 says… “For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

As Paul said, do not lose heart…persevere; be steadfast in your faith in God knowing with full assurance that these things, as brutally hard and crushing as they may seem, confirm in us and for us a future of weighty glory in heaven with our Lord.