Psalm 100:4-5, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (4) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (5)”
As I read these two verses this morning, the first thing that struck me was that we are to enter the Lord’s presence not only with a thankful heart but we must put action to that thankfulness by saying so and blessing Him. We have so much to be thankful for, my friend!
If you are one who looks at the world with a pessimistic viewpoint, you won’t be able to see why you should be thankful. In fact, you’re reading this and saying, “Yeh, RIGHT! Easy for you to say! You don’t know what I’m going through!” Do you truly believe that you are the only one going through trials? (Ecc. 1:9) Every believer has a cross to bear. Every last one of us has something they are going through. What makes you think that your trial is greater than someone else’s? Everyone is allowed the wonderful opportunity to deny himself and follow the Lord. In so doing, they “pick up their cross” [whatever the trial(s) of their life will be] and follow the Lord. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 Notice the word daily? It’s not a one-time thing – each day has its challenges and each day we must choose to take that challenge and follow Christ and His will for us.
I doubt very much any of us can say that we have been tried as much as, or even as close to, Job. If you haven’t spent time in the Book of Job, you should. You would glean so much and it would help you through your trials – especially if you are that pessimist. I know from my own experiences that each trial the Lord has allowed me to go through has built my faith in Him. The more my faith is built, the more I trust Him to take care of these and future trials. With this comes comfort – what’s in my heart will show on my face. The pessimist’s face reflects how he handles each trial – it’s written all over his face. He does not stop worrying or complaining. He does not spend the extra time in the Scriptures that he so desperately needs. He does not rejoice in the midst of the trial to encourage himself. This was true of Job when his friends came to see him. They didn’t recognize him. (Job 2:12) Now I can’t say as I blame Job because the trials he went through were enormously overwhelming. However, we still have something to learn from this.
Our trials are also a testimony to believers and unbelievers alike. They can see where our trust lies through our actions. Our trials also reveal who our true friends are – we saw this evident in Job’s own life. These friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu) didn’t lift Job up in his time of need. We must remember that our friends are sinners like we are and will fail us from time-to-time. We must also remember that we have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother and that is Jesus Christ. (Prov. 18:24) He will NEVER fail us. Be careful where your counsel comes from in the midst of a trial. Be sure that all counsel aligns with the Scriptures before you act on anything. I’ve learned this through experience. We are not thinking at our best when we are in the midst of trial. It is best to wait on the Lord and let Him show us what He wants us to do. (Isaiah 40:31) The Lord is faithful and will show you what to do, whether through the Word, the counsel of your spouse, or your Pastor, etc. HE will encourage you!
My trials have always confirmed my faith in the Lord. After reading Job, I see that God restored his earthly possessions, his health, gave him more children and God even restored his marriage. Job was struck from all sides yet look how blessed he was of God because he depended on the foundation of his faith. How much more should we? We have the Scriptures to encourage us and speak to us! Are we tried more than Job was? I don’t think so. Are we tried more than those precious saints in Fox’s Book of Martyrs? I don’t think so. Yes, some of you are struggling with physical problems that seem to overwhelm you. But your trial is no greater than the dear woman who has gotten saved and yet her dear husband remains unsaved. I’ve been down that road and would never wish this on anyone. Yes, they are two different types of trials, but trials none-the-less. Each person feels as though their trial is the greater one. Each person feels as though they are at the end of their rope. Don’t belittle someone’s trial to make yours appear greater. If you are doing this, you are focused on yourself, my friend, and not on the will of God.
Remember, your “cross” (your trial) is yours! It’s not more than you can handle because that would make God a cruel God and we know that He is a faithful God. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13) Only you can glorify God through this trial – no one else. Do you take this trial as an opportunity to bring glory to God or to wallow in self pity? Do you take this trial as an opportunity to grow in your faith or do you run from it and smear God’s precious name in the mud? The choice is yours.