Nobody ever wants stress or problems in their life, but the reality is that from time to time we all will have setbacks and crisis situations that we have to endure. There are always those times that pop up in our lives that throw us an unexpected curve ball that we weren’t prepared for. Sometimes the struggles that we face in life are so overwhelming that it is hard to imagine how we will make it through the problem before we are completely destroyed. As much as we would all love to live our lives completely free of turmoil and stress, that simply isn’t realistic. As long as we live in this imperfect world, we are going to have problems and troubles.
In the Bible in the Gospel of John, Jesus even told his disciples plainly that in this world they would have troubles, but he encouraged them to “be of good cheer“, because he had overcome the world. So what did Jesus mean by this? How could he tell his disciples that they were going to have problems, but turn around and say to them that they should be happy? I am sure that when Jesus said this to his disciples, even they did not understand the logic in what Jesus was saying. What they didn’t realize at the time that they were being told this was that Jesus was going to sacrifice himself by dying an agonizing death on a cross. In doing so, Jesus would pay the ultimate price that was necessary to reconcile mankind back to God. The curse of death that was brought upon the entire world by the sins of Adam and Eve in The Garden of Eden were about to be atoned for by Jesus himself. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that He Gave his only begotten son, that whosoever will believe in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.
When Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, not only were we given the chance to have eternal life and a right standing with God, but we were given the ability to be overcomers against the trials and storms that this world throws our way. I love what the Bible says about this in Romans chapter 8. The New Living Translation brings it out so plainly. In Romans 8:35 it says, Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? Then in verse 37 it reads, No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Wow…it should be encouraging to all of us all that because of the sacrifice of his life that Christ made on a cruel rugged cross over 2000 years ago, we have the power to overcome any problems that come our way.
So you may be asking yourself, ” If God really loves me so much, why does He allow bad things to happen and problems to come my way to begin with?” The answer is really pretty simple. He allows troubles and problems to come our way to help us to learn to trust him and to strengthen us. It is easy to trust God when everything is going great. It is when we are going through some of the roughest periods of our lives, when everything seems to be collapsing around us, that our faith is put to the test. God allows these periods of testing in order to strengthen us so that we can face the storms that come our way.
Think of it this way. Have you ever seen a potter create a vase or a pot on a potter’s wheel? The potter uses great skill and takes great amounts of care to fashion his work on the wheel. He skillfully molds and shapes the vessel into the shape that he wants it to have. When the potter is done shaping the vessel, it has the completed shape that was intended by the potter, but it isn’t suitable for use until it is exposed to intense heat in a potter’s kiln. The kiln causes the clay to become hardened and solid, making it able to withstand the pressures that will be applied to it by the contents that it will eventually contain. God deals with us in much the same way. After we accept him into our lives, and begin to place our trust in Him, he begins to shape us and mold us into the person we were meant to be. All of us are different types of vessels, but we are all created by God for a purpose. God knows in his divine wisdom that if we are ever going to be effective and useful for the pupose for which we were designed, we are going to have to be hardened and made solid through tests and trials that come our way. We can think of the troubles we face as God’s pottery kiln. God doesn’t place us into the kiln to destroy us, but to make us stronger and suitable to for use.
Look at what the Bible says in James 1 verses 2-8. Again, I love the way the New Living Translation brings out the truth of this passage. In this passage we read, Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. I think that passage says it all! I am reminded of a quote I once read that said, ” A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
So, the next time you are facing a crisis in your life, or if you are going through a really tough period in your life right now, just remember and realize that you are made and designed by God, and he has a purpose for your life. Also remember that God isn’t sending you through the “kiln of troubles and trials” to destroy you. He has placed you into the kiln so that you can come out stronger, better, and more prepared to serve the distinct purpose that he has for you! Remember what the Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11…..For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. ( New Living Translation)
Thanks for Reading!
Until next time,