There is a disregard for suffering in both the world and the church today that shows up in several ways.
1) Seeing suffering as a need for faith
2) Seeing suffering as punishment from God
3) Seeing suffering as God’s inactivity instead of His active pursuit of our benefit, holiness, and answered prayer
Suffering from the Bible’s perspective could not be more different. Just look at Old Testament saints who’s faith was forged in tribulation or New Testament saints who’s spiritual steel sings in the circumstances of trouble.
1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.
Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Love does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out with His love.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
James 1:2-3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Romans 11:22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
Because suffering, having what you don’t want and not having what you do want, is the path to the faith filled life.
Faith is simple: (Hebrews 11:6)
Believe that God is.
He rewards those that seek Him.
Faith is built, not just believed.
Faith is won, not just confessed.
Faith is more practical than spiritual and results in others seeing the character of God, not just the weariness or weirdness of self.
Most talk in church is about the victory of faith, but there is little talk about:
– the trial of faith
– the discipline of faith
– the patience of faith
– the courage of faith
Your faith assignment today is to write down your vision for your family and life. What do you want your life to look like 40 years from now?
There is no greater story of God’s school of faith than the life of Joseph. His story is told in Genesis, but his true legacy of his faith journey is told hundreds of years later in one verse.
Psalm 105:17-19 He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters, he himself was laid in irons; until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.
Drop forged faith is the way that God turns us into stronger and better men. He puts iron into our souls.
Joseph was cursed from the beginning.
– He was his father’s favorite son
– The youngest of 12 sons from 2 wives who were sisters
Joseph cursed himself.
– He flaunted his “coat of many colors”
– He paraded his importance in front of his older brothers
– Joseph then relates his dreams about his future glory.
Genesis 37:8 Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
God had a plan to prepare a place for His people. In His way, He used the heartache, sin, disfunction, and tragedy of Joseph’s lost life to bring about His purposes.
Oswald Chambers says, “God’s preparation is definite, drastic, and destructive.”
Even though Joseph was snatched from his father and mother, thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery, we are told repeatedly, “God was with him.” God was putting iron into his soul, the story of drop forged faith.
The end of Joseph’s story tells the tale of the wisdom of a sovereign God.
– a famine
– the peasant who rises beyond his own dreams
Joseph recognized his abusers who sold him to Egypt, who were now begging and prostrate before him.
After weeks of deciding whether to forgive his brothers or not, the faith that God had forged challenges Joseph to see things from Heaven’s perspective.
Genesis 45:1-6 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, “Have everyone go out from me.” So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.
Now listen to what forged faith sounds like:
Genesis 45:7-8 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
When God speaks of His plans for your life, that is vision and dreams! Walking towards that vision takes faith. The school of faith begins with the struggles and trials that make us ready for the vision.
Now rewrite your dream, your vision, your hope for the future. God has given that hope to you today.
Faith means to walk towards that hope knowing that the Holy Spirit is with you always.
Though the path is rough, know that the Holy Spirit is with you. The trials and suffering are necessary for God to make you into the vessel that can hold His blessings.
– In your life, how has God used trials to forge your faith and make you stronger?
– What areas of your life do you need to rely on the Holy Spirit to prepare you for the new work He is planning to do?
– Write out your dream and vision for your life as you see it 40 years from now.