Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

06/27/2018

Randall Caselman

 

When Life Tumbles In

 

  I understand Frances J. Crosby was born with normal eyesight. But when she was six weeks old, she was taken to a doctor with an eye infection. He mistakenly placed a hot mustard poultice on her eyes rendering her blind for life.

 

  Her response to blindness was remarkable:

"Oh what a happy child am I, although I cannot see...

I am resolved that in this world contented Iwill be.

How many blessing I enjoy that others don't...

To weep and sigh because I'm blind I cannot and I won't"

 

  Reminds us of James 1.2-3: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." It's interesting to note that Phillips translates verse two: "When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends."

 

  James goes on to give us some reason we should rejoice in troubles and trials...

 

  1) They enable us to grow in character. Notice the phrase "Trials of various kinds." The Greek is "peirasmos." Zodhiates tells us that this word speaks of a test or examination that leads to a good end, as in becoming stronger, purer, strengthened in faith. Here it is, God never tries us, never brings us into trials, to tear us down, but to build us up, to bring us into a closer, more intimate, relationship with Him and His people. Trials are meant to improve character.

 

  2) James tells us that our faith is tested, proved. In the Greek, "Dokimos" is a word that speaks of something tested, proved, made better by adversity. A metal is worth its weight. However, when it is heated, refined, remolded in the fires of the mint, it becomes worth more than its weight. Peter applies this "dokimos" process to us as God's children: "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1.6-7). Trials test and prove our faith.

 

  3) Trials work toward producing endurance. Strong, in his word studies says that "Hupomone" speaks of the ability to remain cheerful, hopeful, faithful, under pressure. The idea is that we can overcome because we have a hope, a confident expectation of the crown of life if we maintain a Christ-like character, even when life tumbles in. Both Isaiah and Peter speak of this process, and how it worked in the life of Jesus: "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth." "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly'" (Isaiah 53.7 & 1 Peter 2.21-23). The idea is that everyday trials, troubles have the ability of enhancing our patience and endurance; helping us to persevere in our Christian walk.

 

  So, when life tumbles in, listen to Jesus: "Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution... Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2.10).

 

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!

What more can He say than to you He has said,

 

You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

Fear not I am with thee, O be not dismayed;

I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;

I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,

 

Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,

I will not, I will not desert to his foes;

That soul, tho all hell should endeavor to shake,

I'll never, no never, no never forsake.

 

  God help us to live like we sing  Amen?

 

—Randall Caselman