In recent years we have heard much about the problems associated with the improper storage of water. Giardia is a common microorganism associated with contaminated water.
One of my fishing partners had taken his motor home to a state bass fishing competition. In his haste to get some pre-fishing completed, he failed to check the water in his motor home. The half-tank of drinking water had set for many weeks. Giardia had built up in the tank and quickly infected him. The intestinal affliction ravaged my friend’s body for months. Dealing with the lasting effects of this condition challenged his faith and stamina. In a similar way, sin is like a spiritual giardia that contaminates our soul and depletes our faith. Instead, we need to drink daily from the well of God’s Word.
God often uses trials, loss, sickness, and adversity to help us trust Him more deeply. When Paul and Barnabas traveled back to all the churches they had established, they strengthened the disciples and encouraged them “to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.” (Acts 14:22)
We all long for and pray for prosperity and good health. I’m reminded of the scene in Fiddler on the Roof where Tevya’s friend tells him that “Money is the world’s curse.” To which Tevya replies, “May the Lord strike me with it. And may I never recover!” At least secretly, we have all longed-for riches. But so many times I’ve seen Christians grow wealthy and gain all this world calls success and prosperity. Yet, in the lap of luxury these Christians often grow cold to Christ. They have everything they need, so they no longer need God. They become boastful, arrogant, and spiritually weak. David captured this mindset when he said, “When I was prosperous, I said, ‘Nothing can stop me now!’ Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then You turned away from me, and I was shattered.” (Psalm 30:6-7 NLT)
Honestly, the good and prosperous times are wonderful, and we should thank God for them. But they will not be our lot all the time, and we recognize that it’s during the hard times of testing that our character is reshaped, refined, and our faith strengthened. When hard times occur, one after another, it is a blessed sign of a divine life in a Christian’s experience. “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” (Hebrews 12:7 & Hebrews 12:12)
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:7-13
Personal Application: What current trials or hardships are you encountering? Trust Him and thank Him in all things. True wealth is knowing Christ (Colossians 2:2-3).
Wendell Morton and Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5