The Building Blocks of Joy and Grief
Most people would like grief to go away, so that they can 'get on with the rest of their life'. However, it is our reaction to unwanted grief which shapes much of our character and conditions the rest of our lives. The Christian's starting point in trouble should be joyful gratitude for God's mercy and grace in salvation; and for His promise not to withhold what is good (Psalm 84:11; Romans 8:32). When praise sets the scene, difficulties become God's tools. (2 Chronicles 20:20-22).
Christians are not immune to grief. It will come. But it only comes with Father God's permission, so that his greater glory may be seen. Although faith might seem easy in church, the times of testing show how genuine it is - when comforting fellowship is somewhere else, or fearful thoughts displace prayer, or planning 'how to cope' replaces Bible reading. Mature faith, however, knows the comfort of the Holy Spirit, keeps praying and looks to God's Word first - especially when the difficulties bring grief. Learning how to deal with distress in a Godly way is God's way of refining us so that our faith will grow and his Glory will glow!
Have you noticed that the further you go in the school of faith, the examinations get harder? The purpose of exams is not to disable the student, but to demonstrate what has been learned. It is just the same with our Christian faith. Our flesh likes to think that we can succeed by ourselves. But we cannot! Every day we need Jesus to save us from sin, to guide, protect, comfort, heal and strengthen us to serve Him. So, each trouble, trial, test (with their accompanying grief) is designed to reveal how much we have learned to trust in Jesus. The final exam is when He comes back and asks us about everything, face to face. But for today, each difficulty at work or home is a preparation for that great day.
© Dr Paul Adams