To paraphrase Paul, before God saved me, “for me to live was basketball.” I was so dedicated that after I became a Christian an older minister friend told me, “Charley, if you follow Jesus the way you followed basketball you’ll be someone God really uses.”
God says something similar to us about our trials. As we saw in the second post of this series, God assures us that he “disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). Then he tells us, “If you handle them the way I want you to handle them they’ll help you become more like Jesus.” In other words, if we use them properly they’ll do us much good.
But our trials aren’t the spiritual equivalent of penicillin. They don’t do us good automatically, simply by being injected into our lives by the Great Physician. They’re more like the rehab-requiring surgery of a knee replacement. It’s not enough for the surgeon to replace my knee. I’ve got to commit to regular post-surgical exercise to receive maximum benefit.
This means it’s possible to mishandle a trial and miss the growth it offers us.
Many Christians have. Many Christians continue doing so. We pass on their Bull Market stocks. And don’t experience their dividends.
Reacting to Trials
The writer of Hebrews tells us two reactions to our trials that’ll deprive us of their benefits: “My son do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him” (Hebrews 12:5).
Reaction 1: We “regard them lightly.”
To regard something lightly is to devalue it. It’s to treat it as worth little. Unbelievers regard the Lord Jesus Christ lightly. They see no form or comeliness in him that they should desire him. We can do something similar with our trials.
We lightly regard our trials by treating them as unprofitable, unnecessary, and untimely.
I treat a trial as unprofitable whenever I see it as a curse not a blessing, an enemy not a friend, a mirage not an oasis.
I treat a trial as unnecessary whenever I see it as something I need about as much as a man with 20/20 vision needs glasses or a rich woman needs a handout.
I treat a trial as untimely whenever I treat it as a surprise visit from an unwelcome relative, showing up at the most inopportune time and staying way too long.
Reaction 2: We “grow weary” of them.
Feeling sorry for ourselves; feeling mistreated; and becoming a pain to be around are some of the venomous serpents hatched from the eggs of weariness.
Diagnosing our Reactions
The symptoms of these two wrong responses are grumbling, questioning the Lord’s love, discouragement/depression, the loss of joy, and being more concerned with getting trial out of our lives than life out of our trials.
The consequences of these two wrong responses are dishonoring God, remaining spiritual adolescents, and giving others a false impression of the greatness and goodness of our heavenly Father.
The cause of these two wrong responses is not listening to what God tells us about our trials. The reasons we don’t listen are our arrogant thinking that we know what’s best for us better than God and the equally arrogant notion that we want what’s best for us more than God
But grace assures us that God knows, wants, and does—always, even in our heartaches—what’s best for us.
Are we listening?
Grace assures us that God knows, wants, and does—always, even in our heartaches—what’s best for us. @gfoministries