What Kind of Trial Are You Going Through?
- Monday, October 14, 2013
When disaster strikes, Americans run to God in heaps. According to a Lifeway Research survey conducted in May 2013 after the Oklahoma tornado tragedy, approximately six in 10 Americans (57 percent) agreed that they had a greater interest in God. Studies like this are useful and only confirm what we already know to be fact. During tragedies, masses flock to God. Communities gather for prayer rallies. Television programming, usually reserved for sitcoms, is transformed into special coverage highlighting vigils, ceremonies, and prayers ending in “the name of Jesus.”
The Trial of Adversity
Trials of adversity bring us to our knees and to our Comforter. I know this to be true in my own life. When troubles are many, my face is to the ground, my Bible is worn, and my prayers are overflowing. But what happens when when worries are few and life seems wonderful? I’d like to say that I’m still crying out to God daily with a similar passion. I’d like to say that I am reading Scripture with the same ferocity. But the truth is I do not. When I don’t feel my need, I can forget that God continues to be my every moment, every single day need regardless of my circumstance and how I feel.
The Trial of Prosperity
Everyone tends to forget God during times of prosperity. Hosea 13:6 says, “It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.” Their hearts were lifted but not to the Lord. So it is with us. We tend to worship ease, to become self-sufficient, and thus lack genuine prayer and worship. Trembling before the Lord and the mystery of His providence ceases. Thanksgiving becomes minimal. Complacency seeps into our hearts like a leaky faucet—eventually becoming a pool of self-absorption and laziness towards the Lord.
Prosperity can look different for all of us. For me it doesn’t mean a time of great wealth, it’s simply a time when not as much as usual is going on. There’s general peace in the home, perhaps my kids are doing well in obedience and my husband and I are enjoying a season of sweet conversations and time together. It doesn’t take much for my heart to become satisfied with my circumstances and forget that God is the giver of all good things (James 1:17). We aren’t thankful because we have forgotten the giver. We are self-sufficient because we’ve forgotten the provider of strength (Isaiah 40:29). It’s simply easier to forget our need when we aren’t being pressed.
Here’s the good news. God is the giver of all good things including the faith to follow him. If I ever desire God, ever, it’s only because he has done a work in my heart. In a video answering question 35 of the New City Catechism, which asks: “Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?” Crawford Loritts explains:
“All of salvation, really, is of God. None of it is of ourselves. The Holy Spirit gives us new life and the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith. In Ephesians 2:1 the Apostle Paul tells us, we are dead in our trespasses and sin. There’s nothing we could do to give ourselves life and to give us the ability to believe, and the Spirit of God comes the moment of salvation and gives us new life. Down in verse 8 and 9 in Ephesians 2 we are told that by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. God through His Holy Spirit gives us the gift to believe Him for our own salvation. He does it all for us.”
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