"Many Christians in today's churches seem much more convinced of the reality of their problems than the reality of their God. Our cell phone bill, the transmission in our car, or the coworker in the next cubicle consumes our thoughts. Whether we are single or married, stay-at-home moms or working women, we tend to get so tied up in the minutiae of life that we miss the biggest truth, the ultimate reality. God must be big in our minds. God needs to be at the forefront of our thought processes. He needs to be the first consideration in all of our daily circumstances, not the last resort that we consider after exhausting all other options. Believing in his existence - focusing with trust on his reality - is fundamental to a faith that pleases God." (p. 33)Did you read that? Last resort. How many times do we stress out over ruined plans, tests, or just a bad day and try so hard figure out what we are going to do about it? News flash: we don't have to get through it alone and we aren't supposed to try! And letting God lead us through these trials produces more rewards than if we had never gone through a trial at all. Alsup speaks of a friend's own challenge with the weight of these trials and rewards:
"I know one friend who was reading a book about walking deeper with Jesus. The author made a comment along the lines of 'don't read any farther if you don't want to be challenged in your faith.' My friend said she put the book down right then. She believed God exists. But she thinks he lives to ask hard things of the people who follow him too closely. Whatever rewards he promises for those who diligently seek him are not nearly enough to warrant her trust in him." (p. 34)Though our trials may seem endless and fruitless, the journey is part of the reward. Good things await if we are in Christ.
"We have God's precious promise that he's going to work the hard things in our lives for our good, and part of that good is that we will be changed more and more to reflect Christ's character and glory. The trials and struggles we experience are like the refiner's fire under a pot of gold. The heat brings impurities to the top to be scraped off by the refiner, leaving the gold in a purer form. When God heats up our lives, working out our pride, selfishness, and general wrong thinking, the resulting purified life is so much sweeter." (p. 36)May you find joy in the trials and strength in the Savior and when all is said and done, may your reflection appear as that of Christ Jesus.