Monday, June 15, 2009
WHY DO WE EXPERIENCE TRIALS AND TESTS? Through the Trial a Miracle Awaits
WHY DO WE EXPERIENCE TRIALS AND TESTS? Through the Trial a Miracle Awaits
As the Grand Architect, God can direct our path into perilous situations so that he can reveal His power, enrich our lives, and allow our testimony to spread The Truth. Escaping poverty as a child and the recent death of his wife, revivalist Smith Wigglesworth explains the lesson learned from his personal experience, “Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great trials. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.” God purposely brought the Israelites to a crossroads, so that He could reveal his power and work a miracle in their lives by parting the sea. The Israelites were terrified and did not understand why God would lead them to be trapped between the mountains and the sea with the Egyptians in fast pursuit. Exodus 14:1-4 “And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.’ So the Israelites did this.” Are you standing at a crossroad in your life? God very possibly is bringing you to a place of humility—He is pruning away the unnecessary so that he can reveal His glory. It is very probable that if you choose the righteous path, God is waiting to reveal your miracle just around the bend.
Most of the miracles in the New Testament are multileveled. In the story of Jesus’ healing the man who had been blind from birth, we can see the act itself as miraculous; but we can also understand how God’s redemptive power is far reaching.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. ‘Rabbi,’ his disciples asked him, ‘why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?’ ‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.’
Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, ‘Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam’ (Siloam means ‘sent’). So the man went and washed and came back seeing! His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’
… The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, ‘He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!’ Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.’ Others said, ‘But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?’ So there was a deep division of opinion among them. Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, ‘What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?’ The man replied, ‘I think he must be a prophet.’
…And they threw him out of the synagogue. When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ The man answered, ‘Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.’ ‘You have seen him,’ Jesus said, ‘and he is speaking to you!’ ‘Yes, Lord, I believe!’ the man said. And he worshiped Jesus. John 9:1-38
First, the healings and miracles of Jesus fulfill messianic prophesies to establish that he is the Savior. Secondly, Jesus challenges the religious establishment; the Law of Moses is transformed from outward rules into a righteous relationship with God. Thirdly, the healing transforms the recipients’ life. Lastly, the healed person becomes a living “case study” of God’s grace. It is not happenstance that the blind man was instructed to wash himself in the pool called sent. The physical washing symbolizes an internal cleansing of the spirit. It foreshadows the ultimate goal of Jesus ministry on earth, “ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” Matthew 28:19-20. Also, the raising from the dead of Lazarus of Bethany demonstrates these four principals. Lazarus’s sisters contact Jesus, letting him know that his dear friend is gravely ill; however, Jesus waits patiently. When Jesus finally arrives four days after Lazarus’ burial, the sisters lament that Christ could have arrived sooner to heal him. Seeing the grieving sisters and the crowd of mourners, Jesus wept—waiting for his friend to die must have been difficult, yet he understood that this was God’s will. “Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’ Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him” John 11:40-45. Once again, the miracle solidifies that Jesus is Lord, and as a result, the gospel is spread.
What the enemy of our souls intends for destruction, God uses for righteousness. “Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did.” Acts 8:3-6 Consequently, the crisis provides the opportunity for God to move; when God moves lives are transformed and the Good News travels.
Most importantly, the phenomenal example of God’s transforming negative into positive was Jesus’ crucifixion as the sacrificial lamb, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.” Romans 8:1-3 Accepting Christ brings us freedom—we need to wholeheartedly walk in that freedom and proclaim the truth to others. God is doing all He can to convince us to repent—to no longer have “pent up” emotions and be condemned. “We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God….” Acts 13:38-39 Therefore, the daily miracle is forgiveness, perseverance, and guidance; “He comes to us, not to shield us from the harshness of the world but to give us the courage and strength to bear it; not to snatch us away by some miracle from the conflict of life, but to give us peace—His peace—in our hearts, by which we may be calmly steadfast while the conflict rages, and be able to bring the torn world the healing that is peace” (Advent Devotional Guide). I was answering the phones for the church and a quite, male voice asked, “How do I know I am healed?” I simply asked, “Do you feel better?” Yes, it is that simple! Leave your past of sin and guilt at the Cross—move forward freely with the love of Jesus in your heart.