2 Corinthians 12:9
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”
Have you ever felt life suffocating you? So overwhelmed by the weight of it all that you just wanted to give up? I know that I have felt this way. Emotional turmoil plagues our generation more than anything else; Depression, self harm, anxiety and other emotional battles tear people apart inside. Even people inside Jesus’s church are struggling with these very things. You would think Christians would be safe, but we are just as susceptible to emotional pains. Why is that? If we have Jesus shouldn’t we be fulfilled? Shouldn’t we be happy, given the Holy Spirit living within us? Because of my own recent turmoil, these questions have been on the forefront of my mind. I have often thought things like, “Jesus where are you?” And, “Why are you letting me be broken?” I had this preconceived notion that accepting Jesus made me exempt from all pains of this world. So when this recent trial came up, I began questioning God. If He truly loved me would He let me be in such pain?
Like I have mentioned before, I should not be living on this earth. I have come so close to death without being fazed, but yet this recent emotional battle fazed me. God brought me really low in order to see how much I needed Him. I did feel like I was suffocating from life, I felt as if I had no hope. What I didn’t see was how God was working in my heart to strengthen and build me up.
I came to the conclusion that Jesus allows us to go through trials to build and strengthen us. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. “(James 1:2-3, ESV). A friend pointed out to me that in the original Greek, the word for “trials,” literally means “experiments.” James is saying that our faith is being experimented upon: What events and situations will produce steadfastness and endurance within us? Jesus allows us to go through trials, or experiments, to show us where our faith and hope truly lie.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God’s first priority is your comfort. Rather, Gods first priority is your faith.
The same concept shows up in the Gospels. Let’s look at a statement in Luke 22 from Jesus to his foremost disciple, Simon Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” Reading this left me in awe. Jesus didn’t tell Satan to leave Simon Peter alone, but prayed that when Satan did attack Peter, His faith would not fail. How often do we pray that Satan will leave us alone instead of praying for greater faith to resist him?
Could Jesus be interacting with us today in the same way he interacted with Peter? If pain, experiments, testing and trials produce steadfastness and strengthen our faith, which Jesus loves, why then would Jesus coddle us? God knows that when we hit our lowest, we realize that He is all we need. The depth of our depravity is the place where we realize we need a Savior. “My power is made perfect in weakness.” I hit my lowest. I was shaken to my core and I felt as if I had no hope. Jesus then swept in and redeemed my life. He picked me up and restored me. I know without a doubt that Jesus has a plan and a purpose for my life. I thank God that He is building me and shaping me into the man that He has called me to be. I thank Him that He doesn’t let me sit in my sin but yet calls me to higher things.
Satan is prowling the earth to kill, steal, and destroy. We cannot fight him on our own. The beauty is that Christ is with us, in us, and fighting for us. He has not abandoned you nor has He forsaken you. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding on your behalf. Be encouraged that the maker of Heaven and Earth is on your side.
I am grateful for the trials I have been through and overcome. I can now testify of the goodness of Jesus on a new level, I can with confidence say that He pulled me out of the pit and set my feet upon a rock. However, I know that people feel emotional pain in this way daily, and as followers of Christ we are called to care for the brokenhearted. We are called to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2). Being in community is vital for the Christian faith. We need to walk alongside one another in our sufferings. I wrote this so that you can take heart and rejoice in your “experiments,” for they are making you better.