Embrace your trials

In fact everyone who wants to live a GODLY life in CHRIST JESUS will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12

I was having a rough time one night when I was a member of the U.S. Army. I was in the desert of Iraq and had gotten down on myself. I was depressed, home sick, hungry, cold, and very concerned about events going on around me out in the dark. As a Christian, of course, I reached out to my living GOD in prayer. I asked for strength, courage, boldness, a better mind set, and some food. Not long after my prayer, it began to rain, in a desert, and the temperature dropped even more. It rained half the night and was even more miserable than before my prayer. I almost froze to death and was wet to the bone. With that said, I was strong enough to make it through that night and complete my specific task. Then the sun came up and melted away the dark and warmed my soul. It felt so, so good! I was so thankful for it. It was a GOD teaching moment that I have never forgotten, nor will I ever forget.

Christians constantly ask our living GOD why is this trial in my life, why am I hurting, why am I broke, why did you let that happen to me, why is this thorn in my side, and many different types of this same question. During these last two years of my new life leading Men of Courage, I have had so many trials, obstacles, financial concerns, and been given many specific tasks from GOD that were very uncomfortable to complete. After I did complete these tasks and remove the obstacle and get over the financial concerns, just like after that horrible night in the army and the sun coming out to warm me, I felt GOD draw closer and I drew closer to HIM. That made it so worth the trial. How would I have known how good that sun felt the next morning if I hadn’t had to endure the hard night in the dark?

GOD also wants to see us go through those trials, walking in complete faith for Him. No matter the pain, hardship, what people think, financial cost, or anything, it makes Him smile. Anyone can go through the 70-degree dry night without any concerns or stresses in their life and praise GOD. Can you go through the 32-degree rain soaked bone chilling cold night with serious physical and emotional stresses and praise GOD?

Paul had a thorn in his side and asked GOD to remove it on three different occasions. Paul, who could cast out demons and performed miracles, was possibly the greatest evangelist for our JESUS ever. He wrote many books of the Bible. GOD told Paul, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” GOD also told Ananias that Paul would suffer very much for Him. How many times did Paul make GOD smile by completing his GOD given specific task even though it wasn’t easy and there were many trials and obstacles, even great physical pain, in his path to the completion of those tasks.

Think of all the awesome, bold, courageous men and women of the Bible and think about how many of them had it easy, laid back in their recliners, non-stressful lives. You may not can think of one. You can, however, fill a page full of the names that were stressed their whole lives for our GOD. Some were stressed even to the point of death such as John the Baptist, who JESUS said was the greatest man born of women. Think how easy his life was and how it ended.

Think about the thief on the cross who acknowledged JESUS as his LORD and SAVIOR. JESUS did not remove him from his pain and death on the cross, but he did say “today you will be with me in paradise.”

I challenge you my Christian brothers and sisters to accept these trials, tribulations, obstacles, and persecutions of life that in the scripture Paul says, “WILL COME” to us as Christians. Accept them with bold, courageous, miraculous faith of JESUS CHRIST in us. Show the non-Christians how we use our faith in GOD and his son, Jesus, to get through these times and then how those times in our life draw us closer to our GOD, not farther away.  I draw strength daily from Psalms 91!

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken awaymay the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging GOD with wrongdoing. Job 1: 20-22.

(Chris Plants is a founding member of Webster Parish Men of Courage. Their mission is to encourage, equip, and empower the Men of God to become spiritual leaders in their home, local church, community, and workplace. Webster Parish is now home to a Women of Courage chapter as well as Families of Courage.)