- What is it that you are going through right now? How are those around you perceiving it?
- Are you believing in a promise and others are jeering at you for your silliness?
- Are they trying to tell you that if you trusted in God and if you were walking with Him, then you would be prosperous, have abundance, be 100% healthy, that you will have no problems in life?
- Perhaps you being told that you have sin in your life or disobedience to God which is causing these negative situations
- Worse, is it the religious leaders in your circles that are condemning you and pushing you aside?
Have you read the Bible lately?
Well, stop listening to other voices…
Joseph was given a vision, that he would rule over his siblings and parents… This in a culture whereby older siblings had birth rights! Naturally, the older siblings got jealous and mocked him. Their envy led them to sell him off as a servant. God used this very avenue to take Joseph where He had wanted Joseph to end up at. Yes, during the process he was rejected, pushed away, even thrown into jail. But Joseph remained steadfast despite the trials… Whether he got disheartened or not, we do not know – the Bible doesn’t record it! Yet, he remained humble and God exalted him in due time (whereby due time was many many years later!).
David, the youngest of the lot, was chosen to be king and anointed. On his way to deliver lunch to his older siblings at the palace, David inquired after the unfolding events in regards to Goliath. His oldest brother seeing him rebuked him, “I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle” (1 Samuel 17:28). This very brother had seen David being anointed by Samuel. It was obviously jealousy that caused him to retaliate. The brother was judgmental. If only he had asked the right questions, he would have found out that David was actually sent by their father and for a purpose. Right after this dialogue, David proceeded to stand strong in God’s strength and was victorious. Imagine if he had simply got disheartened and set back home immediately? Oh he stepped into his ultimate calling, despite being anointed all along decades later too!
Jesus was mocked by those around Him, the Pharisees and the Scribes – the religious leaders of the time. They tried to be ‘smart’ and even use Scripture to ‘trap’ Him. One of Jesus’s own disciple, one of the chosen 12, betrayed Jesus. Yes, it was such that scripture would be fulfilled. Yet, imagine the trials and sufferings that Jesus went through. In fact Jesus knew what lay ahead of Him that He pleaded with His Heavenly Father to take the cup of suffering away from Him yet surrendered to the perfect will of God for our sakes – yours and mine – ‘yet not my will but Yours be done’. 33 years on earth, Jesus lived to fulfil the prophecy and thus bridge the gap between us and our Father.
Paul writes of his missionary journeys… of his trials, of his struggles, of being falsely accused, of having plenty and of going hungry… Yet he knew contentment. Despite being in jail, Paul was able to give thanks and rejoice and thus writes to us to give thanks in ALL circumstances. In the storms, he was able to dance and see the rainbows!!
The more and more you explore and study in depth characters of the Bible, you will see patterns of trial in all the lives of those who were called for a purpose. None of them sailed through life in luxury. They all had to surrender whatever was precious to them. So much for the teaching of prosperity by many preachers these days. Living in the lap of luxury could indicate selfishness – not sharing of blessings with the family of God.
As we live more and more for His Sake, the more and more our perspectives of trials and sufferings will take a new light. We begin to see the blessings of this stage, for the increased intimacy, increased strength of God in our lives and decreased ways of ‘self’. In the above situation we see family members and religious leaders being the very people who criticise and discourage.
And as for the condemning religious leaders ….
God will deal with them just like Jesus openly rebuked the Pharisees calling them hypocrites. Ezekiel prophesied against such shepherds whose sheep were scattered and without a shepherd to tend and take care of them. Such leaders are busy building a name for themselves and not building up God’s Kingdom. Why do I say that? Sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit and thus who know that God equips EVERY believer so that ALL can together build up His Kingdom. Each one has his/her own role..
If a ‘leader’ can force people to conform and adhere to his / her ways and thoughts, then he/she obviously doesn’t have a personal relationship with God the Father whereby God gives free will. We are to obey God, not mankind’s rules and regulations.
A man or woman after God’s heart, will have compassion and also have the very things of God in their hearts. They will be first and foremost for God’s name to be glorified and to show love to their neighbours – to step in and help, not discourage and push aside. They won’t let the sheep (who don’t agree with them) be scattered let alone hint at them to leave “their” church and be happy about it.. Would they do that to their own children? Yes, when told to ‘leave’, we shake the dust off our feet when leaving! That’s what Jesus said – not what I’m saying… the peace then returns back to us!
A man or woman after God’s heart will realise that believers are God’s children.. and treat them accordingly!
Let us forgive those who discourage us and belittle us. Let us intercede for them.. if they knew God’s grace and God’s permitting of trials for the greatest blessing of all (and that’s certainly not material blessing but rather that of renewed intimacy with Him) they wouldn’t condemn and reject.
In the meantime, count your blessings as of NOW, not of yesterday nor of the future but what you have now…
Let us be content like Paul, knowing that God has a plan for everything and He knows what He is doing through it all…
If we truly trust God and we are living our lives for Jesus, then we will be confident that He makes all things beautiful in His time and that even these trials and difficulties and oppositions and rejections are to mould us, refine us and prepare us 🙂 May His Name be glorified as the joy of the Lord is our strength whether on the mountain or in the valleys.
Let us see the rainbows and the beauty of the rain in the midst of the storms!