Posted by: Ety W. | April 29, 2008

Why Me? Perservering Through Difficulties

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In my last post, we took a look at the word perseverance in Titus 2:2. We saw that it referred to a hopeful endurance that does not give up, despite trials and circumstances. We ended with the question, why does God allow difficulties in the lives of Believers in the first place?

To answer that, let’s go back to the book of James, which has been a helpful commentary for Titus 2:2.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (perseverance). And let endurance (perseverance) have its perfect result, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (NASB)

In other words, we are being trained in spiritual maturity. Consider the following verses:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His son… Romans 8:29

… but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ. Eph. 4:15

So in answer to this post’s title question, “why me?”, Scripture tells us it is because He wants us to become like Jesus: in words, actions, attitudes, thoughts, and the way we respond to people and circumstances. Many times I’ve wished that God would do this miraculously so that, “poof,” I was automatically Christlike. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. As Paul told the Philippians,

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6

The good work is conforming us to the image of Jesus, and it is ongoing until the day of Christ. For whatever reason, God chooses to do this in a practical way, through life experiences.

Sometimes those life experiences are humanly impossible to understand: death, divorce, disease, flood, famine, fire, hurricanes, accidents, unemployment, etc. But does that mean that bad things are God’s will? If God is love, why would He allow them to happen at all?

Well, it was never God’s will for Mankind to sin in the first place. He forewarned that there would be consequences (Gen. 2:16-17), but that didn’t stop us. Now, because of sin, we live in a fallen world which operates out of God’s original plan. Our difficulties in life result from living in that fallen world. Fortunately, this world as we know it will not last forever (Rev. 21:1). But until time runs it’s course, God uses these difficulties to prepare us for our eternal life in Christ.

Now, it’s one thing to understand this intellectually, but actually walking through tough situations is very difficult, if not impossible. It requires faith. Remember, faith is trusting God enough to be obedient to His Word no matter what is going on in our lives. It doesn’t give up when God doesn’t immediately change our circumstances, nor does it become angry with God and blame Him for what’s going on. Rather faith clings to His Word in hope, trusting that He is bringing about a greater good in us.

I wish I could say that this is easy, but from experience I know it’s not. The best way I know how is to hang on to His Word. I’d like to close by sharing the verses I have clung to during my worst trials. Sometimes all I could do was to repeat them over and over and over……

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 5:6-11 (NASB)

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