Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Sometimes our problems loom so large that we cannot see past them, but on the other side is a purpose much greater than what our eyes can see.

Scripture of the Day:

Jeremiah 12:5-6

“The LORD answered, “If you have raced on foot against men and they have worn you out, how will you be able to compete with horses? And if you feel secure only in safe and open country, how will you manage in the thick undergrowth along the Jordan River? 6 As a matter of fact, even your own brothers and the members of your own family have betrayed you too. Even they have plotted to do away with you. So do not trust them even when they say kind things to you.”

1 Peter 4:12-13

“Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad.”

I heard an excellent sermon on the passage from Jeremiah almost a year ago. It was one of those sermons that I will carry the rest of my life. This morning as I was reading the Scriptures, I recognized the chief verse and it made me smile. Sweet reminder from my God. His reminders are always on time.

The problems – troubles – of this life can wear us down and we can lose our perspective in the midst of them. What we desire is to be free from troubles, but this is not an admirable nor a godly goal. As we navigate through life’s challenges, we are going through a testing to develop something of worth: perseverence.

Each hurdle we manage to overcome is always followed by another. Part of our maturation process is in accepting the burdens life brings and learning how to approach them. If we run to God, our source of help at such times, we are given strength and grow through the struggles, as opposed to just hanging on for dear life and surviving.

God was telling His servant Jeremiah that the problems he thought were so significant did not compare with what was coming. What an encouragement, right? At first it does not seem so, but then we recognize that our perspective is what makes all the difference in the dramas and traumas of life. Each difficulty is not wasted with God. It forms our character (for good or bad) and helps us to be able to endure whatever lies down the road.

Peter reminds us to not be surprised by fiery trials. Uh . . . I don’t know about you, but trials can catch me off guard. But I am learning to not be so perplexed by them and to take them in stride. Not because I am anything special or strong – definitely not. But because of my great God Whose Word is precious to me. He speaks to me in those hard places in ways that I did not encounter when life was easy. Wait – when was life easy? Anyway, when life was easier.

Although God is trying to change our thinking about problems, God is not trivializing our problems. He understands they are hard. He just wants us to look to Him and not the problems themselves. He will provide solutions and change us in the process. Our attitude in the midst can either deter what God is trying to accomplish in us through the problems or enable them to become something we are grateful for when we recognize God’s hand in it.

All problems are not inherently evil. I said it. Sometimes our problems loom so large that we cannot see past them, but on the other side is a purpose much greater than what our eyes can see. Problems may not be fun or appreciated, but in the hands of our great God, they can become a blessing. Learning how to handle problems makes all the difference in how we approach life in general. Seeking God at the place of struggle helps us to gain God’s perspective, and He knows the beginning from the end. The perseverance God is developing in us will serve us when bigger problems arise, but the sweetest reward of problems is knowing our God more.

Lord, I thank You for problems even when they hurt. Help us to have a goal of glorifying You rather than just getting through problems. Protect Your people and cause our hearts to search after You alone rather than relief.

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