Peace Through the Trial
James 5:16 says The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Pastor Pete’s wife Suzan’s favorite quote is that Joy is not the absence of pain, rather it is the presence of God. We’re joyful because of what Jesus said in John 16. This passage is about Jesus’ transition from his public ministry to his private ministry to the twelve. At the end of this passage in verse 31 he said, “do you now believe.” Jesus said that I need to leave but where I’m going you cannot come with me. But I will return. In verse 30 they said that they believed that he had come from God. Jesus warned them that the time will come when they would be scattered. Jesus said that peace is not of this world but peace is only in me.
Trials of life put us through changes that we could not have known in advance. After we have received the Holy Spirit, God will prepare us to endure the type of pain and suffering that the world deals us. However, as the Lord revealed to Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee. For My power is made perfect in thy weakness. According to Jehosaphat’s prayer, “We have no plan and we don’t know what to do. However, Lord, our eyes are upon you. God reminded Jehosaphat that the battle belongs to the Lord. The purpose of this life is to draw us closer into the Lord’s presence. As CS Lewis said in the Chronicles of Narnia, “the lion (of Judah) is loving but he’s not safe.” The theme of Oswald Chambers’ devotion from August 2 is: In this world you will have trouble, however be of good cheer for I have overcome the world. The peace is not the absence of the storm, rather it is the peace in the eye of the storm. He will give you the peace that passes understanding in the midst of the trial. Supernatural peace will overwhelm us in the midst of the storm. Personal abandonment means to get to the point where God leads us to die to self and to live according to the power of Christ’s resurrection…to say “Lord have thy way with us.”
When Jesus prepared his disciples, he said that they would be scattered and forsake him. However Jesus reminded them that even though they would forsake him, he would never be alone because his Father would still be with him.
Two weeks ago the oncologist said to Suzan, “we could give you Chemotherapy that would extend your life, but your cancer is “incurable.” After Pete and Suzan prayed, God answered Suzan’s prayer, “I’ve got this.” We need to get to the point that we say, “your will not my will, your mission and not mine.” Our lives are for his honor and glory not ours. He has called us into the body of Christ so that we can build up one another… To edify, exhort and comfort. To encourage one another to will and to do of His good pleasure. We all need the encouragement of our band of brothers within the body of Christ. Our life is not our own… Our life is hid with Christ in God. Our joy and rejoicing is in Him as we praise and glorify Him with one another in the household of faith.
The devil’s job is to put one little negative barb of a comment into our minds to “burst our bubble of happiness.” It’s easy to envision the “worst case scenario.” Death is the worst case scenario. Pete said to Suzan, “If you die, you’ll be home with God and will never miss me…. but I’ll grieve for you every day. Everyone fears cancer. It can end your life. However, cancer cannot do anything to us that God will not allow. Safety is allowing God to work things according to the good pleasure of his will.
According to Oswald Chambers, no evil can come into the place where you are one with God. In the world you will have tribulation. Jesus said, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” If there is no strain then there is no strength to overcome. When we spend ourselves spiritually God will give more strength. When we’re crushed with trial and tribulation, then His strength is made perfect in our weakness. There is glory to God in the fellowship of our suffering.
To look at others you’ll be stressed. To look at the world, you’ll be distressed. To look at yourself, you’ll be depressed. However, look unto Jesus and you’ll always be blessed. God has called us to the body of Christ so that we can accompany each other to another level of fellowship. For if we walk in the light as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We have been called unto the fellowship of the church of the living God. Because of the prayers of the saints we’re being carried to the place where he won’t forsake us. He will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus said, “my peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Ministry is creating an environment where God can come and help himself to our lives. Our calling is to show that through the power of God in Christ in us we have the ultimate victory in all things. Therefore be of good cheer. Despite trials and tribulation, Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.”
May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,