The Trials of Life
Today is the 8th Anniversary of the day I had surgery to remove a football-size, cancerous tumor from my body, which was threatening my life. I had ovarian cancer (click on the link to read my testimony). In the subsequent weeks following successful surgery, I received three rounds of chemotherapy, and then 24 weekly treatments of a lower dose of chemo, while participating in a voluntary scientific trial. Following that time, I have had tests and checkups which have continued to declare me to be “cancer-free.” I am grateful to God today for life and health.
For me, this anniversary, and time of year, transports me back and I relive so many events from the past and I remember the feelings associated with that experience. For me, this is an emotional time.
Especially so, this year, on this anniversary, for we have just found out that our dear friend, who has battled breast cancer for 15 years, learned this week that her cancer has spread to all of her organs, and even broken a vertebrae in her back. She is in intense pain. I am deeply moved by my friend’s situation, and concerned for them. Our prayers go up to God for her and her family, and our thoughts are continually with them. Yet, we give praise to God, for we don’t want to withhold any of the praise and thanks that is due to the Lord, for another year of health in my life.
This morning, during my quiet time, feeling it might be helpful to listen to some solid Biblical teaching from an old familiar friend, I listened to the first sermon by John MacArthur, “Trouble to Triumph”, in a series called “Benefiting From Life’s Trials”, a study from the book of James. (You, too, can listen free of charge to all of the sermons in the archives of John MacArthur’s preaching. You can also choose to download them onto your MP3 player, if you want, or read the transcripts. It’s all free! I enjoy hearing his voice and how he says what he says, so I like to listen through my computer.)
How Can a Christian Endure Trials?
Quoting from the end of the sermon:
“How can a Christian practically endure trials? What is the practicality of trials? That’s what James wants to hit. It’s not enough to say, ‘I must persevere.’ Tell me how! How do I persevere?
These are the pragmatic aspects to a persevering faith–several things are required:
- A Joyous Attitude, vs. 2: “Count it all joy.”
- An Understanding Mind, vs. 3: “Knowing this.”
- A Submissive Will, vs. 4: “Let patience have her perfect work.” Let it do what it’s gonna do. Accepting it from the Lord, getting under it and learning what He wants you to learn.
- A Believing Heart: Don’t have wavering faith, vs. 6, but ask in true faith; vs. 8, don’t be double-minded. A believing heart that never wavers in faith.
- Then in verses 9-11, A Humble Spirit, that is willing to accept anything.
The way to go through trials victoriously is with a joyous attitude, an understanding mind–perceiving the reality of the trial and the purpose in it; a submissive will–accepting it from the Lord, getting under it and learning what He wants you to learn; a believing heart–that never wavers in faith; and a humble spirit, that is willing to accept anything.
That’s how you handle your trials.”
(My goal was to strengthen myself in the Word and be encouraged; maybe it will do the same for you. To listen to the rest of the series, click “trials”. You may also enjoy John MacArthur’s series: “7 Steps to Spiritual Stability” or other resources at www.gty.org)
Trials strengthen faith and trust, for the believer. As I get older, I can look back and say, the Lord has been with me in the past through every trial, small and great, and He will be with me through whatever trials I’m going through now, or may have to go through in the future. He is faithful. Rejoice with me and be glad. Trust in the Lord, for He is good.