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Do Trials Shape You Or Break You?

By Terry Hoskins –

Pain and suffering finds us regardless of who we are and is indeed a central part of the human experience. You may have everything this world has to offer like millions of dollars, cars, houses, and boats, yet when trials come, all the stuff of the world leaves you feeling empty. Riches and power were suppose to cause your life to be full of joy and happiness, but truth be known you are miserable. Others of you are on the other side of the fence with nothing. You are struggling just to get by everyday. The bills are piling up, the food is getting scarce, and you wonder if you will ever catch a break. You go to bed every night praying to God, and wonder if He is real because your situation remains the same. Still others of you are like myself where you are in between both of these worlds, but you have been going through some tough times. Possibly a loss of someone significant. This person knew you inside and out, and now they are gone. It feels like a part of you left when they died. Life is hard, and pain always finds us. We can’t hide from it, nor can we run from it because we live in a world that is filled with it. Our world is broken, the people we encounter are broken, and we ourselves are broken. We all need help and hope from someone greater than ourselves.

The Storm is coming
What is your response to problems? How are you handling the one you are in right now? In counseling I see a myriad of ways people approach problems. Most of them harmful. For example a person struggles with depression so he/she begins to drink to cope with the depression. In reality the person just added another problem on top of a problem that only makes the depression worse. Other approaches that I see on a regular basis in counseling include an I can handle the problem myself, or ignore the problem, or run from the problem. All three lead to more problems.

I can handle it MYSELF
The natural reaction for most of us is to fight and struggle. How well can you fight a tornado or a hurricane? Often we are shaking our fists and kicking at the wind exerting energy, not changing anything. We tell ourselves that we are making a difference when in reality the storm is still raging and getting worse.

Out of Sight out of Mind
I play peek a boo with my son, and he loves it because he actually thinks my face disappears. Many of us handle problems that way. We ignore the proverbial elephant in the middle of the room and hope that it will just leave. Problems of life do not disappear. We exacerbate the problem when we ignore them because they begin to affect other areas of our life.

The Runner
Running exerts energy, as does running from the battles that need to be dealt with. We internally begin to work harder because the pressures of yesterday’s problems compound with today’s. We finally crash, and feel overwhelmed. Avoidance complicates our life!

God is Knocking on Your Door
The problems, the trials of life that we face happen for a reason. God’s Word says, “He (God) determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26b-27, NIV) God controls where we live, and He allows the problems of life we face.

Why? So that we will look for for Him, and find Him. God will allow our world to crash in around us for our good. We need help! God’s Word says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV) God wants us to look to Him for help and support because He wants what is best for us because He does care.

Do You know Christ as Lord and Savior?
Naturally we will depend on our own strength, ignore, or run from our troubles, but God says turn to ME. If you aren’t a Christ follower than you are lost, an enemy of God. We all were living in rebellion to God, but because of His love God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to save sinner’s like us. Christ took on the wrath of God in our place by dying on the cross. And a few days later Christ rose from the dead, and now we can because of Christ’s sacrifice become a children of God through faith and repentance.

That means we believe that Christ is Lord and Savior and we turn to Him in obedience. We recognize that we have been our own god and we turn to Christ in submission, trusting Him as Lord and Savior.

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