By Chenghang, the United States
Some people say life is just like the sea, full of ups and downs, and fearful storms; others say that life seems to be a boat adrift on the sea, sailing from one wharf to an unknown harbor to berth.
In our daily life, we usually encounter all kinds of disappointment: being burglarized, suffering from illness, having a difficult life, failing and being frustrated at work, and so on. After experiencing some setbacks and failures, some people feel that as if they are loaded with heavy burdens and trudge alone in the desert, there is no one who can hold up the sky for them, henceforth becoming mired in defeat …
We usually base our judgment according to the appearance of things, thinking that encountering these disappointments is always a misfortune. Actually, no matter whether we suffer frustrations or tribulations, within them there are God’s good wills. We all know about Job’s deeds: He honored God as great, revered God and shunned evil, and could often live before God; then he became the man who was called righteous by God, and received God’s blessings. However, when Satan saw Job’s being blessed by God with great wealth and good-looking children, it accused Job in the presence of God. And then its temptation happened to Job: All his properties were robbed of, all his daughters and sons died in scourge, and his whole body became covered in boils. Such pain as Job suffered was what we ordinary people couldn’t possibly imagine. Maybe in our opinion, Job was very unfortunate. But in fact such a trial became the precious treasure of his life. It was because he had experienced the trial given by God that his reverence for God and hiswere elevated. Even though living in pain and refinement, he still praised Jehovah’s holy name. Finally he thoroughly broke free from Satan’s temptation and attack and became a free person who truly worshiped God. From Job’s experience we see that God uses these frustrations and tribulations to build up our lives, and that this is for us.
I remember that my husband had been ill when my children were very young. As we lived in a city where it was expensive to buy even a sip of water, you can surely imagine what my husband’s illness meant to us. At the thought that our life was going to be very tough because my husband could not work any longer, I couldn’t help becoming worried in heart. At that time, I had no choice but to pray to the Lord again and again. Later, I read the words of the Lord, “Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat; neither for the body, what you shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?” (Luke 12:22–25). The Lord’s words made my heart much more at peace, and also made me have the faith to face the difficulties of life.
When faced with difficulties, although I couldn’t get my husband’s aid, I learned to rely on God, and God also helped me resolve many difficulties. Once, I was going to make a shed for the shop to keep out the wind and rain, and I only asked one sister in the Lord to help me. However, while we were busy making it, a few persons, including a passer-by, came to help us. So very soon we put the shed up. Things I had experienced like this were many. They made me have some true understanding of God’s authority and wisdom; thus the anxiety in my heart vanished, and I harvested real joy and peace. Furthermore, I truly felt that whether they are hardships, refinements, or the difficulties of life, they are all used by God to temper my will, to make me become more and more resolute, and moreover, to perfect me so that I can have a true faith in Him.
When I walk for some while and reflect back, I see that God does not abandon us; especially when we suffer setbacks and pain, God is still accompanying us and leading us to come through all of them. God bestows grace on us, and also gives us refinements; while grace is the manifestation of God’s love, the hardships and refinements are even more imbued with God’s true love. And the greater the trial comes, the more it contains God’s intention. Because God clearly knows what kind of circumstances each of us needs, and according to our needs at different times, He will carefully set up various feasts for us to taste. Hardship is the best gift given to us by God. It is precisely as thesays, “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD tries the hearts” (Proverbs 17:3). “And I will turn my hand on you, and purely purge away your dross, and take away all your tin” (Isaiah 1:25). Therefore, no matter what frustrations, failures, tribulations, and refinements we meet with, we shouldn’t complain against God, but instead, we should praise God under any circumstances, just like Job did.