Monday, 26 October 2015

The purpose of trials and obstacles

Ice breaker: What is the greatest obstacle that you have had to overcome?

Quotes:

  • The same sun that melts ice, hardens clay.
  • God will take care of what you go through, you take care of how you go through it.
  • The things that Satan throws in our path to defeat us can be stepping stones to victory (Romans 8:28)



Obstacles can make a trip a lot more difficult. Strong winds and currents can make a journey by sea a lot more difficult. Smooth sailing is easy, a gentle breeze is a pleasure. When the weather changes, your skill as a captain are tested.

James 1:2-4 ”Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” ESV



Consider it pure joy … but Lord this hurts! I am not enjoying being stretched. When we are stretched we have an opportunity to grow. Stretching can be painful, but it is a very important process.

Romans 5:3-5 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ESV

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” ESV

Deuteronomy 32:11 “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions,” ESV

When it is time for the eagle chicks to leave the nest, the parents make the nest uncomfortable. This is to motivate them to want to leave the nest. Like an eagle, God makes our circumstances uncomfortable and teaches us to fly, catching us when we fall and helping us to try again until we succeed.

Psalm 103:5 “who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” ESV

Isaiah 40:31 “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” ESV

How will we know what our limits are if we are never tested? In St Francis Bay (in the Eastern Cape, South Africa) there are companies that build luxury boats and ships. Before one is delivered to a client it is tested to see if it is seaworthy. If it is not ready it is fixed before delivery. God allows circumstances to test and mold us.

Will we submit to Him? Or struggle against the process?  Paul's thorn in his flesh, which he said was sent to harass him:

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ESV

We trust in God to carry us when we can't go on. He will give us the strength we need when we look to Him.