Beware…Beware…Beware….WARNING SIGN…if you are currently in a time of testing…a trial…check your “roots”. In Luke 8:13 we find “Those [seeds that fell] on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
All believers need good roots….so that we are prepared for times of testing. It is not a matter of “IF” these times will come, it is a matter of “When” as we learn from James 1:2. “Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face TRIALS of MANY kinds, because YOU know that the TESTING of your faith produces PERSEVERANCE. Let perseverance FINISH its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking in anything” [emphasis added].
From these two scriptures, both found in the New Testament, we learn that trials are tests. For believers, it develops perseverance which, in turn, strengthens our FAITH. I love to reflect on the trials of life because it helps me SEE GOD. It strengthens my faith and my desire to be “All In” for God. In my own life I have seen the results of trials. I have watched my husband, Bill, our children, my extended family (my sister and her family and Bill’s family), myself included, develop their faith…through life’s trials. And yes, sometimes I see what Satan meant for evil…God meant it and used it for good.
Even in our friends…I see…the “ultimate” trial, the death of a child, bring about God’s good. Recently we had Bill’s Bible study group over for dinner. As I reflected on the evening, I marveled that at one end of our dining room table sat a man who buried his son just over two years ago. As a result, at the other end of the table sat a man who gave his life to Christ after the other man’s son had passed away.
You see, the new believer’s daughter dated the son who died. Wow! Just wow! Now these two men sat opposite of each other at our dining room table during dessert. What IF the man whose son had passed away had NO root? Thank God His roots were deep in Christ. So deep…that even though his heart was and is still broken….he has led others to Christ in his pain. He started a Bible study in his home for the friends of his deceased son…and he took the money from his son’s life insurance to start a shelter for women and children.
I sit in awe… since the death of his son, I have listened to him speak. He is choosing to live and trust Romans 8:28 and encourages others to do this every day. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It is a choice to claim and find comfort in this verse and he is doing it while experiencing extreme and painful circumstances. There is no doubt that the days can be long and hard for this man but he finds JOY in the LORD.
I encourage you to “strengthen your ROOTS”. I believe it starts with reading and studying God’s word….and it doesn’t stop there. It is living it and understanding that you only get a relationship with God on His terms. You can take it or leave it, but you cannot change the rules of engagement. And you don’t want to.
God didn’t create us to play “defense” in life. He created us to play “offense”. Knowing we will have trials that will test us, it is offense that is used to strengthen our roots. It is knowing and applying God’s word to our lives every moment of every day.
God uses trials in our lives for two very important purposes. First, it is an opportunity for God to show Himself to us. Second, it’s an opportunity for us to “prove” ourselves to God meaning it graduates us to the next level of our faith and love for HIM.
We know from Proverbs 3:5-6 that “we cannot lean on our own understanding.” That, my friends, takes “strong roots”. In this life we might not see the “reasons,” the “good,” from all of our trials. Growing strong roots helps us to “release the having to see the why”. It develops in us a “peace, joy and comfort” of trust that can only be felt and understood through the watering, weeding and fertilizing of our lives. What can only be done with God. Taking the time to marinate in His word. Spending time in His presence. Seeking Him with all our heart. It is there that our roots will grow strong and go deep.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).