I was going through a difficult time. Nothing seemed to be going right for me. I had written to over two hundred companies and hotels seeking to have a little space, a column maybe, in their in-house magazines but the only three responses to my inquiry were feebly accepting my work on account that they did not have to pay me for it. Once again I had to continue writing without a budget being set aside to cater for my needs. Grudgingly, I accepted this arrangement in the hope that somebody out there would see my work and hire me; a publisher most hopefully.
I had religiously read my bible reminding myself over and over again that God would never leave nor forsake me. From 1Corinthians 10:13, I was reminded how God would never give me a burden heavier than I could bear. I had also comforted myself with the book of James 1:2-4 and accepted the inevitable result of growth and maturity from adversity. But when the landlord came knocking, I fell apart and forgot all the biblical assurances
That night, however, as I sat comatose and wondering what lie to brew up the next day for the never-tired landlord, I heard invaluable words of wisdom from a televangelist about what trials teach us. Using the book of Job as his point of reference, he said that trials teach us about patience. In the book of Job 2:9-10, Job's wife asked him to curse God and die. Job did not rebuke her, instead he tried to help her see God through his eyes. Job patiently held onto his faith in God in all that he is going through.
As I pondered over this, I felt deeply ashamed for having doubted God's faithfulness towards me. No matter what I was going through, He was aware of it and for Him to have allowed it then was because He knew that I could safely wade through it.
The televangelist continued by explaining that, trials change our perspective about how we view things. When his wife confronted him about his foolish integrity, Job asked her whether it was right for them to accept good but not trouble from God. He made her see that in accepting good, one must also accept adversity by the same measure.
In retrospect and with the crammed up little space I call my house suddenly glaring accusingly at me, I thought of all those homeless people I had met; those who slept on the streets with the stars as their ceiling; those whose houses had been swept away by hurricanes, floods or landslides; those whose homes had been flattened by earthquakes or those who lived in palatial homes but had no peace. I promptly got down on my knees and thanked God for what I had.
Trials also teach us about persistence. This can be equated to the perseverance mentioned in James 1:3 which is developed from the testing of our faith; this then making us mature and complete. I now see God progressively in the different stages of my life. As the wilderness gets harsher and harsher, I may sometimes want to throw my hands up in depressed resignation, but each time I have seen Him show up just as He promises in 1Peter 5:10. Although I may come out of the wilderness bruised, questioning, confused and sometimes doubtful of His love for me, I soon feel Him reconnecting with me in the way that a Father who has had to punish an errant child does; lovingly.
As in the case of Lazarus when Christ came four days late and yet not too late to perform the resurrection miracle, my landlord was sorted out in the fullness of time; not a moment too soon, not a moment too late. As he left with his gummy-toothed smile, I marveled at the love of the Father that has been shown to us by Christ.
Salvation is not an easy walk and the bible talks of consistent persecution from the enemy directed especially at the saints. Circumstances in life may hound us and depress us but they should not change us. Job believed in God even in the hardest of time; the question is, can we?
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.
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