Tag Archives: Jesus

What are trials for, anyway?

I heard an interesting thought on the radio yesterday, and it set me to thinking. The author stated that we all experience trials, even Christians. What would the Christian life be worth if it meant no trials, heartache, or defeats? Wouldn’t it be a life that everyone would want? Wouldn’t that cheapen conversion because release from trials would be the appealing factor, not salvation in Christ? It has been my experience that my life was relatively rosy until I gave my life to Christ, and that’s when the trials really began.

I have wondered about that, and here’s my take: before we know Christ, we are oblivious to the wiles of Satan, and he can lead us where he wills, most often quite painlessly. He doesn’t really have to hurt us, because we are his anyway. After Christ enters our lives, the Battle for All Time begins. We are no longer his, so he must throw everything he has in his arsenal to try to get us to curse God and abandon faith in Him.

If you’ve read the book of Job, you know that Satan must ask permission from God to throw us into a tailspin (see Job 1). God sets parameters for Satan. He is not allowed to take his life. You think, now isn’t that wonderful? Then you read on and realize that if all those things happened to you, you would have wished he’d let Satan take your life. Such sorrow, such great loss. Even Job’s friends blamed him, and his wife told him to curse God and die (Nice. She must have been the original Contentious Woman). The difficulty is in understanding that everything happened with God’s permission.

Wow. That’s heavy. How could God sit back and watch such cruelty?

In my own life, I am not the person I was before Christ, before trials. I’ve had many, and with each one,  I’ve questioned less, depended on Him more, and received a stronger faith in the bargain. How is this possible, when trials can be so devastating?

The answer comes in Luke 22: 31,32. Jesus is speaking with His disciples at the Last Supper. He tells them that,”Satan has asked to sift you all as wheat, but I am praying that when you turn back, you will strengthen your brothers.

There are two things you can take away from this. First, God did not spare his own Son, so that we might be saved. Two, in times of trial, we should remember that God is always with us, always on our side, and in fact, Jesus is always praying for us. Hebrews 7:25 says, “Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” That’s an awesome thought.

So when those trials come, and they will, remember that though the cost is great, God saw this coming. He is on your side. He will get you through.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

How did Mary know?

The Wedding at Cana
 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.”

Have you ever wondered at Mary’s instructions to the servants at this wedding? Look again: “Do whatever He tells you.” What occurred in Jesus’ earlier life that caused Mary to put her trust in her Son to provide for the hosts of this wedding? Could it be there was a day she watched from the window when Jesus picked up a little dead bird, and as he shed a little tear, breathed it back to life again? Maybe another day in their large and growing household when there was not enough to eat and suddenly there was? Or could it have been a night the family gathered to celebrate Passover where 4 glasses of wine were to be drunk by each member of the large family? Could Jesus have provided for Mary when her own provisions were meager? Could it be that Jesus performed these untold miracles within the private sanctuary of their own household?

Her statement that the hosts were out of wine was met by Jesus’ reply, “Woman, my time has not yet come.” In those days, weddings went on for days, and the reputation of the hosts depended on their provisions for the wedding guests. Mary did not hesitate to make her simple statement, “Do whatever He tells you.”

Do you notice Jesus, the Lord of the Universe, does not refuse His mother. He knows the purity of her heart, her desire that these friends of hers not be ashamed that they have run out of wine. So, as only He can do, He fulfills her wish by changing water into wine. Lavishly, abundantly, one hundred and twenty + gallons of wine!  And the icing on the cake is that the wine He provided was the best of the wedding.

I like to think she knew He wouldn’t fail her by experience. How else could she say with utter confidence,”Do whatever He tells you”?

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?