"The good man does not escape all troubles--he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one."
- Psalm 34:19 TLB
A lot of Christians have the idea that once they dedicate their lives to Christ, they should be able to live trouble-free lives. But that's simply not scriptural. The verse above is a good example of how honest the Bible is about the likelihood of God's people experiencing difficult times on this earth. But let's not miss the fact that it also promises that we'll have the Lord's help in every trial we face, because those who commit their lives to Christ enter into a unique relationship with Him, with special privileges.
First and foremost, we will have the abiding presence of the living God through the Holy Spirit who dwells on the inside of us. Jesus said, "Be sure of this--that I am with you always, even to the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20 TLB) When Jesus says that He will be with us forever, He means it. He's not a fair-weather friend who will desert us in dark and difficult times. He reassures us by telling us: "No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm--I will come to you." (John 14:18 TLB) When life comes crashing down upon our heads, we can experience the sweetness of our Savior's presence as we reach out to Him in prayer.
Along with the Lord's abiding presence, we will have everything we need to gain the ultimate victory in every trial we face. Jesus said, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 TLB) Through our union with Christ, we have the potential to be true overcomers in every situation and circumstance. God's wisdom, strength, comfort, and joy are all available to us every moment of every day. But it's up to us to draw on these heavenly resources by staying in close fellowship and communication with the Lord at all times. There have been times when I hurt so badly that I didn't think I could make it through another day. As I sought the Lord for His unique brand of comfort and peace, it wasn't long before I noticed that my load was lighter, and my outlook was brighter. Many Christians try to struggle through difficult times without depending on the presence and power of God. Very often, these are the same people who tend to become bitter and resentful when trouble comes their way. Failing to make the most of our heavenly privileges will not only cause us to miss out on God's best plans and purposes for us, but it will make us ineffective witnesses for Christ.
I lived most of my life as a defeated, hurting Christian because I did not take advantage of one of the greatest gifts of my faith--the promises of God. I was living well below my privileges as a Christ-follower, and my life looked woefully similar to a nonbeliever's. As I discovered the wealth of God's promises, I began to declare with the psalmist, "I rejoice in Your promise like one who finds great spoil." (Psalm 119:162 NIV) The trials of life took on new meaning and purpose for me when I found Romans 8:28 (NASB): "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." No matter what I was going through, Almighty God was committed to working it out for my good, simply because I loved Him and was living my life for Him. If you are facing a trial of your own right now, I invite you to pray the prayer below with all your heart, and discover for yourself the "incomparable privileges" that belong to you in Christ! (Luke 7:28 AMP)
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to take full advantage of Your presence, Your power, and Your promises during this difficult time. Comfort me the way that only You can, and fill me with Your joy that gives me strength. (Isaiah 51:12, Nehemiah 8:10) I thank You that You are true to Your Word, and You will work these trials out for my good and Your glory!
- J. M. Farro