16th June 2012

The Only Sensible Response – Patience Through Trials

“…patient in tribulation,”
Romans 12:12 (NKJV)

Actually this word ‘patient’ is better translated ‘persevering’, and it is an important distinction. Patience can give the idea of just waiting something out, whereas perseverance suggests a struggle against something. This is clearly what is meant here. Tribulation is not an excuse to down tools but a reason to step up a gear. There is a beautiful purpose to tribulation; it is intended to strengthen us, to tone up our spiritual muscle. All muscle grows when struggling against resistance.

 But what is tribulation and how do we struggle against it? According to Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary, tribulation is severe affliction. In times of severe affliction many parts of our character, of who we are, are tested. But perhaps most importantly we are brought face to face with God. It is in times of difficulty that we deepen our faith, our confidence, in God’s promises. Also it is the time when we do battle with one of our greatest enemies – doubt. These times of tribulation often feed on doubt and it is in this area that we struggle. These are times when we are forced back onto the promises of God, when we lose our self-confidence and must find our confidence in Him.

It is important, therefore, that we know what God has promised us when we face these times of trial. God has not promised to deliver us from these trials, although sometimes he chooses to do so. God has promised to deliver us through trials. He has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We can take great encouragement from this. And further he says no temptation is coming upon us that we cannot bear but that he will make the way of escape that we may be able to bear it (I Corinthians 10:13).

So what does all this tell us? It tells us never to give in, to be resolute, to trust in God to walk with us through the tribulation and ultimately to give us the victory. To keep on keeping on, confident that God will work out for us all kinds of good things (Romans 8:28). 

Father in heaven, we thank you that you promise you will never leave us or forsake us, that we can press on in the face of trials and tribulations, confident that you will not allow us to be tempted above that which we can bear, and that all things will work together for our good.

Study by David Stirk

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