Wednesday, February 27, 2013

THE PURPOSES OF DIFFICULTIES


By:  C. Stanley

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. – Rom. 8: 28-29 (NLT)

If we could choose the number of difficulties we would face in a month, most of us would pick zero. Yet the Lord sees value in troublesome times. Through His mighty power, He uses trials to achieve His plans.

One of God’s purposes for us is a growing intimacy in our relationship with Him. But He knows we struggle to put Him first over our own interests. Many of us place higher priority on family and friends than on companionship with God. For others, finances, the workplace, or even pleasures interfere. When the Lord sees our attention is drifting away from Him, He might use hardships to draw us back so that we’ll give Him His proper place.

Another reason God allows difficulties is to conform us to the image of Jesus. Pain is a tool that brings areas of ungodliness to the surface; God also uses it to sift, shape, and prune us. The sanctification process—the building of Christlike character into our lives—starts at salvation and ends with our last breath.

A third aim for stressful circumstances is to reveal true convictions. Our faith is tested in tough times. It’s easy to say, “God is good” when things are peaceful. But when everything goes awry, what do we believe about Him? At such times, do our words and actions reveal an attitude of trust?

King David endured many heartaches—a disintegrating family, personal attacks, and betrayal by those close to Him. But through trials, he gained deeper intimacy with God, stronger faith, and more godly character. Won’t you let the Lord use your present situation to accomplish His good purpose?

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