Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
Trials and Tribulations: An Easter Message
Is there anyone you know who enjoys when the trials of life appear? Any trial is a disruption which slows us down in whatever our current pursuit is. It could be something as simple as a flat tire on the way to work, an unwelcome visitor who magically appears at our doorstep, or the horrific loss of a child.
Every person in the Bible faced trials. Paul went to prison. So did Peter. Job lost everything, literally everything within 24 hours. David, the soon-to-be anointed King of Israel ran for his life in the wilderness for 13 years before being crowned king. And Jesus faced the greatest trial of them all – being put to death to save mankind. For all His life, Jesus knew how it would end. The night before His mock trial and death, Jesus, in His humanity, asked, pleaded with God if there was any other way would He do it? More on this later.
I would like to offer a different perspective on trials. They are meant to grow us, to make us more Christ-like. Trials are not punishment. They can be so difficult we wonder if we are being punished for something. But we worship a God who is not able to do evil because it would go against His nature. He allows terrible things to happen so free-will may be exercised by us. We may choose to trust Him through the challenges which increases our intimacy with God, or we may resent Him and grow distant from Him. The important point here is, He gives us the choice. When difficulties appear, and it is certain they will, let’s redirect our mindset to think of them as God intervening in our lives to change us because He loves us that much. He will not abandon us, but He will not allow us to remain stagnant and treading water. Isn’t that great? And God is on our side. He wants us to persevere. He wants us to win. And He wants and deserves the glory and honor when we do. After all, everything that happens is under His Sovereignty.
Jesus asked God to “take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done (Luke 22:42 NIV).” Knowing what He was facing, Jesus accepted the trial willingly because He trusted God. We know the rest of the story which we celebrate as Easter. But the disciples were scared and confused. They had witnessed countless miracles and supernatural events for three years. Jesus told them what was going to happen. Yet, when He was crucified, they acted like it was the first they had ever heard of it. The disciples acted like … humans.
After Jesus’ resurrection and after He appeared to the disciples, they now had an unshakeable faith. It all started to make sense. Most of them died horrible, unthinkable deaths because they would not renounce their faith in who Jesus is. No one would die for a lie.
The next time you have a trial in your life, or maybe you are going through one now, ask this question of God, “What are you trying to teach me?” Ask Him to open your eyes to the good that will come from persevering through the challenge. In the words of Joseph: “What you meant for evil God meant for good.”
Happy Easter! He is Risen!
Written by John Harrell