Huh? Is that the first thought that popped into your mind when you read that? When things are good, that means they are easy, right? So when things are going good in your life, it can't possibly make your life more difficult. That would be an oxymoron! Well, those typical worldly rules of "good people reap only good things" gets thrown out of the window when it comes to a devoted Christian. Now, that is not to say that the Christian life is one of misery and that you will spend your life doing good things and getting only bad back. Not by ANY means! The Christian life is the most beautiful and rewarding thing you could ever experience. But it is also the most persecuted and targeted life choice you can make. When you give your life over to Christ and lay your heart at the foot of the cross accepting him as your Savior, you will have an immediate target placed on your back. Satan, the devil, the enemy...whatever you want to call him, he will immediately start plotting ways to deter your path and make you second-guess your choice. Every inch closer that you grow to God, the enemy loses an mile of power. Power is what Satan craves most, and it is the only way he knows how to operate and manipulate. When we live for Christ and obey the Word (The Bible), we make the devil angry because he gets worried and scared by being reminded that the end of his time coming near. He wants to take as many souls with him as possible, and each time someone seeks The Lord, he feels one soul possibly slipping out of his grasps, and he panics.
So what does he do? He starts manipulating your mind and heart with doubt, worry, fear, and hurt. If he can get you to distrust God or take you away even a little, then he knows he has all of the leash he needs to pull you close enough to sink his teeth into you! One less hour a week that you spend studying the Bible, turns into 5 hours less a week. One missed service turns into 2 months of missed services. Involvement in several study groups turns into "I'll just study on my own." It happens slowly, and sometimes is almost unnoticeable until it has already damaged your life and your relationship with God. If you are secluded, the enemy has a lifeline into your mind to play his tricks and plant his lies. And if Satan isn't enough, we have his pawns. People planted on this earth that will ridicule Christ-followers, chastise us, and condemn us. If they can get us to doubt God or aid Satan in causing something bad in our life, then he and his pawns can likely cause us to blame God and turn from him when things happen in life, instead of praising God and turning to Him. So you see, trials are not a sign of us not being favored, not doing right in life, or not being loved by God. Rather, they are a VERY strong sign that we are on the right path, that we are growing closer to God, and that we are achieving victory. It shows we are on our way to doing great things for the Kingdom!
Keep in mind also that God will not cause you to have trials in your life, but He may allow them to continue and have you walk through them. This refines us, and teaches us to be more like Jesus Christ. This also speaks of our true heart and motives, and reveals our own strengths and weaknesses. This is not done to make us feel less than, but so that we can work on ourselves and improve our walk with The Lord in order to become closer in our connection with God. Trials are often blessings in disguise, if only we would look at them with an open heart instead of an accusatory selfishness. The harder we are pursued by trials, the greater glory and praise that is being brought to Our Father! Still confused? Maybe some of the below Scriptures will help to bring you understanding. For those of you who are already strong Christians, you know how this works and why it works this way. For those of you who aren't or are new Christians and still not quite sure why this occurs in our journey towards a closer relationship with Christ, please feel free to contact me for further discussion via phone, email, or web. I would love to converse with you about this, let The Lord guide me in aiding your understanding, and develop continuing fellowship with you! God has us all here to help each other, and community is one of His greatest blessings! Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or message me at http://www.facebook.com/SaviorsGraceMinistries. God bless, my beloved brothers an sisters in Christ. Stay steadfast in your walk with Our Lord...the blessings you will receive in the end are immeasurable compared to anything this world can do for you!
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (James 1:2 MSG)
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18 NIV)
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." (Romans 5:3 NLT)
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12 ESV)