What If…? (ATP)

What If…? (ATP)

What if the trial never ends?

This is a question I sympathize with and as someone who loves people, my heart truly goes out to anyone struggling through trial. When things are hurting it seems the only thought we often have is how long is it going to last. Living in a world where there is so much unexpected and so much out of our control, even if we are expecting, there can be great frustration in not knowing. I get it, and I know where you’re at.

That said, I have found that all my desire to take the pain away from someone else is most often fruitless. When you’re in trial, I can’t stop it. When I’m in trial, I can’t stop it. For years this very knowledge was so frustrating to me, until I learned some secrets that I’m going to share today.

Jesus knows. He not only knows but He knew. John 16:33 records Him as saying, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Jesus foresaw the trial and He was moved with compassion for our trial before you and I even existed. Back when we were only a very distant possibility, Jesus taught us the way, fully taking in account that what He left us would completely cover all we could possibly go through.

Before I continue, I want to ask you a question about the above scripture. Is there a difference between one ongoing trial or many different ones? From either stand point you may answer that one is definitely worse than the other but your perspective is going to be from the struggle you face. Trial is relative. What I faced when I was a teenager was at times unbearable. Today those struggles are nothing to me. But today’s struggles, today’s are the worst. Tomorrow’s, they are worse yet. See trials will always present themselves in a fallen world, perspective changes their effect.

So on to the great secret you’ve been waiting to hear. 1 John 5:4 gives us the answer, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” Faith is what overcomes. If you’ve been in the Mayville church of recent I’ve been teaching on simple faith. We have learned a fundamental truth, “Have faith in God,” based in Mark 11:22. To have faith in God is literally to have complete trust in and rely solely on God.

One reason trial bothers us so greatly is because of our inability to  change the situation. Think about it like this. I have a Jeep and it is a 4wd. I don’t usually drive around with all four tires driving the vehicle, but when I get myself in a bit of mud or snow I pull the lever and boom, I drive right out. No troubles at all. I’ve even pulled others out using this extra power. One time however my son borrowed it and in a certain storm found himself in a ditch that the Jeep could not get out of. He was scared and frustrated and I understand that but I was not. See I have been stuck really bad before and I know who to call on. So we arrange for a tow truck to come to where he was and it pulled him out. In this world you will have tribulation that you cannot get out of but be of good cheer, Jesus has overcome your trials for you already!

See, the reason you’re so bothered is because you are trying to do Jesus’s part. He’s the unstucker, you are not! You are trying to figure out how to get this thing unstuck but that is not your job, yours is to be of good cheer. Being of good cheer does not mean you are happy about the situation, being of good cheer is resting in the fact that the answer is on its way. What would happen if I had called that tow truck driver every 30 seconds while we waited for Him to arrive and asked him, “Are you sure your coming?” Or what if my son kept calling me saying, “Dad, I know you love me but I’m stuck and I don’t think you will actually come!” It would be an extreme annoyance, wouldn’t it?

Now I am not saying that we are annoying God but the Bible does tell us that faith pleases Him. He loves that we would want to talk to Him every 30 seconds but not to tell Him how much we don’t trust Him. See, when a person is in faith it is settled in them that no matter what is going on, God will come through. The person of faith settles this in their heart and rests upon it. The person of faith reminds themselves of it. They use it in the trial. They keep telling themselves and refuse any mention or thought otherwise.

Now you may be thinking, “I guess I’m just not a person of faith.” That’s a lie. Do you want to be a person of great faith? Then decide you will be! If I asked you to come with me for a walk, you’d only go by going and faith is exactly the same! Look at the woman with issue of blood in Mark 5. Verse 28 tells us her thoughts, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” Jesus later declared in Mark 5:34, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” Faith overcame and the faith she had was the faith she took! That same faith was, is, and will be to all who will take it!

So what do we do with this? Remember what I said earlier, overcoming a trial is really about perspective. If you know God will come through for you then you rest in Him. If you don’t know this, go back to the Bible and read all the times God came through for the people that trusted in Him and tell yourself He will do it for you. If the thought comes that He won’t, simply refuse it place in your life, in your mind, or anywhere else anywhere near you.

He came through every single time! I am not making light of your trial, I know it’s hard without knowing what it even is. I am telling you there is a way to overcome and that is trusting wholly in the fact that He already overcame. The trial might not end today, but neither will you! Trust in God and see the other side! It will make your time here much more enjoyable!

Be Blessed,

Pastor Jeff