Coming to Our End: God’s Design in Trials?

27 11 2007

The EndA few more thoughts on how we are to understand the trials we endure.
I came acrsoss this in a puritan prayer, recorded in the book The Valley of Vision:
“Let no incident of life, pleasing or painful, injure the prosperity of my soul, but rather increase it. Send me Thy help, for Thine appointments are not meant to make me independent of Thee…” 
When I read this, I had to take a moment and really think through the writer’s statement.  What in a trial would “injure the prosperity of my soul“?  Would the trial itself?  No.  Otherwise why would James write “count it all joy?” (James 1:2)
That which would injure my soul would be my response to the trail.  Injury would come if I allowed the trial to drive me to my own strength instead of the strength of God.  If the fruit of my trial is self-dependence instead of God-dependence, serious damage has been done.  This got me thinking about the trials that have come into my life lately which I’ve just buckled down and endured.  How much time have I spent lately praying for God’s strength to help me through these trials?  How much have I really looked to Him for strength and provision?  How much damage has been done to “the prosperity of my soul“?
Clearly, God’s design in my trials is to show me the sufficiency of His glorious strength and the weakness of my own; scripture speaks to this over and over again (2 Cor. 12:9; Rom. 5:3-5; 1 Peter 1:5-7).  So, when I try to endure the trial in my own strength I really find myself fighting against God’s design.  This begs the question- what will God have to do to bring me to the end of my self-sufficiency? 

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5 responses

29 11 2007
Robert Mullen

Funny you should post this as it has been a consideration of mine lately for different reasons. We haven’t had trials lately so much as just some worldly concerns (house, work, family) and I viewed them exactly that way and chose to deal with them in my own strength. This is for me is an insidious weakness that separates me from God when it happens. I didn’t notice it necessarily until old and unrelated problems started to knock on the door of my mind much to my surprise and displeasure. It hit me about a week later that I was praying the right things and saying the right things but thinking something completely different (i.e. praying for God’s wisdom and providence but anxiously and almost compulsively ordering events in a way that is in opposition to those prayers.) When do we reach the end of our self-sufficiency? I can only speak for myself and say that I am clearly not there yet. At the same time, praise God, I am not where i was even two short years ago. I intend to make like Paul in Phillipians 3:13 and keep my eyes intently on where God is taking me. If you see me doing otherwise please rap me gently in the head and help me to get my focus back on the One who should command it.

Nice blog I added it to my feeds.

29 11 2007
Amy

I can hear you singing now! I knew you secretly loved Bette Midler! :)
Thank you for your other comment, it made me cry! You are my example! Love you!

29 11 2007
Stephanie

What an encouraging and thoughtful post this is. I’m going to print out that puritan prayer because it’s certainly something I need to consider daily.

(I’m here because your so lovely wife posted your link, and I’m so glad she did!)

29 11 2007
karen

Just lettin you know I am here! Can’t wait to read on!
Your wifey’s friend….and yours too!

29 11 2007
Ernie J Fernandez

This is wonderful. Excellent job. A place to come and grow, to fellowship, and seek Thee. Yes, and the Puritan’s,” A true call to Holiness”.
Thank You Brother Ryan, I shall return. 2 Peter 3:18

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