Do you enjoy trials -- tough times, hard times, and painful times? That probably sounds like a stupid question. How can anyone enjoy that stuff? I remember when I was going through my first "trial" -- tough time in early to mid 1992. I was talking with one of my church's elders and told him that I was in the middle of the toughest trial. I guess I was expecting sympathy, because his response totally shocked me! He replied by saying, "Praise the Lord!" The confusing part was that he wasn't being sarcastic. He was very sincere. Back then I didn't know enough to understand his response to my agony, but now I understand.
The Bible says that we are to glory in tribulation, because the testing of our faith produces something. What does it produce?……… And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Rom 5:3-4)
What was the trial I mentioned to my church elder? I was unemployed, heavily in debt, with bills piling up. I have always been a person who pays my bills on time. Overdue bills nag at me! And overdue bills piling up, when I had no income, was severely frightening to me.
I remember literally crying out to the Lord on my bed, asking Him why my bills were piling up. My tithes were paid faithfully, never skipping one. I reminded God of His word that says He would supply all of my need according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). I reasoned with Him, saying that it wasn't a good testimony to be late with payments. I was really freaking out on the inside and crying out on the outside.
I went with a friend to visit a church. Their guest speaker was Dave Roberson. The offering was about to be taken. I determined that I would give $5.00. Even though I was unemployed with bills piling up, I still loved to give. Then a thought crossed my mind that I should ask the Lord what should be given. Who knows what provoked that thought, because when the Lord told me what to give, I argued with Him! The Lord asked me to put, I think it was $115.00 into the offering. It was everything I had! I reminded the Lord, that money was set aside to pay for my car insurance. He replied by saying, "I know what you have need of. Do you trust Me?" He was asking me if I trusted Him to supply for my needs. I said, "Yes, Lord, I trust You, but my car insurance is due and I have no income to pay for it, if I put all of this money in the offering." He replied, "I know about all of that. Do you trust Me?" I said, "Yes, Lord." He said, "Then put the money in the offering." I said, "Okay, Lord."
I was fighting back the tears as I wrote out the check, emptying my bank account. Putting the offering into the bucket as it passed by, I turned to my friend to say, still fighting back the tears, "Do you think the Lord will honor this offering?" Sniffle "I know that I am supposed to be a cheerful giver." He could see that I was about to lose it…on the verge of wailing right there in the middle of the church service! He anxiously said, "Don't cry. I have been praying everyday, asking the Lord if I could help you financially. God wouldn't let me until today." He was reaching into his pocket to fetch his wallet. He pulled out two $100 bills and one $50 bill from his wallet and handed them to me. He said, "The Lord said to give this to you. I was waiting to give it to you after the church service because I was afraid that you might put it into the offering." My friend is a very generous person. The Lord was in the process of teaching him to be led by the Spirit about who and when and how much to give to people. Why did the Lord repeatedly say no to him, waiting for this day to say yes? I am sure it was because the Lord wanted to stretch my faith. God also wanted me to know that the money was from Him and not from my friend.
This was just one of many tests of faith during this trail. There are others,
from this same trial, that I have posted as
They all have produced a peace that money can't buy. The intended end of the trial, faith and peace, is the reason why we can glory in the midst of the trial. We know that the trial produces something good. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18)
I no longer freak out and cry about finances. God has proven Himself faithful in this area. He is your provider also. Trust Him. He won't let you down.
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