When we feel like giving up; when the pressure seems so unbearable that we’re ready to cave in; we can fine tune our faith by remembering that God works to preserve his people. That is, when we entrust our future to the God who sustained Jesus in the garden and raised him from the tomb, we are trusting that he will enable us to persevere also, to endure, especially when the future seems bleak. The promises in this series are part of how God keeps us enduring to the end.
Let us exult in our tribulations, knowing that pressure brings about endurance; and endurance provides evidence; and evidence stimulates hope. Romans 5:3–4
God uses several means to keep us trusting in him to the end. One of the most frequent is causing us to experience the pressure of troubling circumstances, in a word, tribulation. He seems to favor it more than other means because faith is like a muscle which only grows stronger as it repeatedly encounters resistance. Tribulation is the resistance our faith needs for it to remain strong enough to be obedient, even in the face of grievous loss. God led Israel through the wilderness to humble them and to test their faith, so he might do good to them in the end. Indeed, he warned them to watch out for the good times: “Beware, lest when you have eaten and are satisfied … then your heart becomes proud, and you forget the Eternal, your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt.” The Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested by Satan. Today our tribulations force us to ask the question, “Can I really trust Jesus for the grace I need today?” The more we answer “Yes” to this question, in spite of our circumstances, the more joy we will actually experience as he brings us through each difficulty. Then our confidence of future good will grow as we see how well he keeps us going.
Faithful God, help me to see clearly all you are doing to bring me through my troubles, and give me boldness to credit you as I relate to others the hope I gained from enduring troubled times. Amen.