GOD’S ‘SECRET’ FORMULA
by Jackie Anderson, guest blogger
Shortly before Jackie and Duane returned to Ethiopia, we enjoyed a Saturday morning breakfast and visit to the Farmers Market.
My family watched the Olympics this summer and admired Michael Phelps. He overcame trials and failures. The joy of the Gold motivated him to persevere.
Then I watched Eddie the Eagle, a movie about Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics. What an inspiring story to persevere!
The Israelites in the wilderness do not inspire! They saw God’s miracles over and over yet they continued to complain and lacked faith. No food? No water? God just opened up the Red Sea! But they whined to Moses and God. These trials were meant to strengthen their faith. Finally, God declared they would not enter his rest because of a lack of faith. They didn’t have the faith that stayed true.
James 1:2-4: Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance do its complete work so that you may be mature, lacking in nothing.
Knowing implies an understanding that we see our problems from God’s perspective. We know that God has a plan, and He uses trials to produce the maturity He desires.
It would be interesting to count how many times the Scriptures exhort us to “Stand Firm!” God values endurance!
“Endurance is the ability to undergo a period of stress and strain with the inner strength of Christ, emerging from it stronger than when we entered. It’s looking squarely into the face of discouraging circumstances without despair. It’s assuming that God is going to work all things for good.”
Trials come to test our faith. The word testing is the idea of exercising. It is like lifting heavier and heavier weights over our heads and standing up longer and longer! Our faith can develop muscles and strength with each trial. I want to remember this so I drew a weight lifter in my journal to remind myself. It helps me to journal some of the trials and victories so that I see the ‘smaller weights’ I have handled and have hope for the heavier trials.
In Robert Morgan’s book, 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart, he calls this God’s secret formula:
It isn’t always easy. It isn’t easy to find joy when you have lost a child to cancer or face a brain tumor or your body aches with arthritis every day. It isn’t easy, but Jesus showed the way; He stretched His arms on the cross so that we have a new source of strength. He also promises to be with us and to work all things for good! I have to really trust that and make it my self- talk during trials. I have found that the more I think on His promises and truth, the more I can rest in those arms of love.
God understands it isn’t easy to find joy.
James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, ask of God. The context is connected to the trials of verse 2. God will not punish us for struggling through trials but rather encourages us to turn to Him for the wisdom to have God’s perspective so that we stand up under trials and become the child of God that gives Him the glory. He gives us the wisdom to know what to do, think or say to ourselves or someone else who is struggling.
No one who received the Gold in the summer Olympics did so without discipline, endurance, and strength. I want to receive the heavenly Gold Crown and give God the glory!
Note: Robert Morgan’s book 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart, has been an inspiration and a source for many of these thoughts. I encourage all my friends to use this book.