A Perspective on Trials

Never say I am not responsive to criticism!! [even though I HAVE been recently accused of “sitting around all day reading ancient Greek”]

In preparing for a one-on-one session with a lady going through a trial, I was hit by the power of Eph.3:10-21. Here’s Paul being unjustly incarcerated in Rome, writing to the church at Ephesus in order to tell them not to become discouraged about his circumstances.

v.10 Purpose for Trials: “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places”

v.11 Source of Trials: “according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus…”

v.12 Comfort in Trials: “in Whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”

v.13 The Conclusion: “don’t lose heart”

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians:
v.16 they would “be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man”

v.17 How? God-enabled:
“having been rooted and grounded in love”
“rooted”: established, firmly planted, literally: “been made stable”; Passive Voice, done TO believer
“grounded”: foundationed; Passive Voice, done TO believer
Both in reference to the love of Christ

v.19 Reason for Trials: “that you may know the love of Christ…be filled with all the fullness of God”; be totally dominated by the Lord with nothing left of “self”

v.21 Result of Trials: God is glorified

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4 comments on “A Perspective on Trials

  1. Doug Wilcox says:

    Great stuff. I do find it isn’t always easy to respond to trials the right way, all the time, even with the measure of grace God gives.

    I am learning, but part of it can be emotional, and a bit like a roller coaster. I find even when my heart and mind agree with Scripture and I know, all this is for His glory, that other part of me rebels. I’ve told Nichelle at times, “I don’t think or believe this is true, but this is how I feel!”

    I am definitely learning improved empathy for other undergoing trials.

  2. Beth'sMomToo says:

    I think the best thing to do in those moments is to go to God in prayer and admit the situation you find yourself in and just call upon Him like David did. It’s OK to say, “Lord I know you are sovereign and love me, but right now I’m having difficulty resting in that. Help me to glorify You. Help me to do the things You want me to.” He KNOWS your heart. We can be completely open with Him. He knows we’re not at the place we want to be, but we’re trying to focus on Him.

    I think I mentioned Don Whitney’s suggestion about “praying through the Psalms”. I know this has proven invaluable to me and to many others. Start reading a Psalm and stop to pray as you are prompted. When the words dry up, read a little more. I find I can pray much more deeply this way. It helps me focus and it helps me praise, as well as pray.

  3. Doug Wilcox says:

    This is a bit ironic, and a glimpse into how my mind works.

    I actually did start going through Psalms (although not “praying through”), when I was most troubled by Nichelle’s illness, and found them surprisingly disheartening to my emotional state at the time. They talk over and over about all the great things God can do, in saving and healing. I knew what God could do; I was wrestling with what God had chosen to do.

    Romans 9 works better for me. “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!” (I know, it’s not the primary application, but sovereignty is sovereignty.)

    It’s getting easier, even though more very difficult trials have come.

  4. Beth'sMomToo says:

    “I have LEARNED in (literally: which circumstances) I am, to be content.” [Paul in Phil.4:11]
    How did Paul manage contentment and perseverance? He “learned” by the experience of responding to circumstances in a Godly manner. I suspect that’s why you are NOT now at the point you were when all of this began. You have had an opportunity to apply your faith, the rubber met the road, so to speak.

    I can’t take credit for this, but I think it’s great. Philippians shows us the way to Christian contentment depends on having the right goals, ones that are impervious to circumstances:

    1) To magnify Christ (Phil.1:20)
    2) To pour out your life for others in the name of Christ (Phil.2:17)
    3) To know Christ (Phil.3:8)

    Lest you despair that I will never quote from a book other than Philippians ever again…I am now working on 1&2 Peter for the next Ladies’ study…so be prepared for “Peter inundation”. 😉

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