There will be tears and anguish in our Christian walk. As “babes in Christ,” we sought to escape painful situations. We ran from problems, which most of the time created even more problems. Little children want to laugh and play; that includes little children of God.
When we first came into Christ, we did not know that there would be excruciating “fiery trials” on life’s menu. As little children of God we scratch our heads and go, “Huh?” We do not see why there has to be trials and heartbreaks. We do not see that God uses trials in our Christian walk as fire that burns out impurities.
We always are taken aback when the trials come. Attacks and reproaches from strangers will come, but their sting usually serves to bolster our faith. Peter tells us that these trials are not a strange nor rare occurrence. They are rather part of the “sufferings of Christ” (I Pet. 4: 12-14). Because we are members of His spiritual body called “Christ,” when we go through trials, it becomes part of Christ’s sufferings. We are one in this thing with Him.
Reproaches from without our circle of earthly and spiritual families are not the source, however, of our bitterest tears. When we are betrayed by those we trusted and loved the most, then the onslaught of acrid tears will flow. And the heart will churn and pound in utter disbelief. How could they do this? Why would they be so cruel to us, as to aim their words like poisoned arrows that pierce hearts that loves them? But Christ did say that a man’s enemies are they of his own household (Matt. 10: 36).
From Suffering to Forgiving
Swimming in this pool of dismay, we will cry out asking God, “Why? Why did they betray me?” And we will seek Him for solace and comfort. And He will finally lead us to the realization that the way out of the anguish and despair is to forgive them for their trespass against us.
For the truth is this: God has allowed the entire incident outlined above to happen to us. “All things are of God” (II Cor. 5: 18). There are no accidents in the Grand Scheme of His Wisdom. He allows, and some say instigates, these trials to happen to us in hopes that we will enter into the sanctum of forgiveness.
For forgiveness is the capstone of His divine character. It is the seminal portion of His divine nature that we are to express. God’s purpose is to reproduce Himself. He does this by bringing us to spiritual maturity through loving and forgiving others. For it is only His Spirit that can flawlessly do this. He has promised us His Holy Spirit to abide/remain/stay in us. He is the Forgiver now working through us. So He in His infinite wisdom has provided betrayals, deceits, lies, and back-stabbings to give us opportunities to exercise the power He has given us to forgive.
My Ordeal by Fire
It has been 35 years now since I survived the “fiery trial.” The pastor that I followed for 14 years as a full time missionary inexplicably spread untruths about me amongst the brethren. The person who led me to Christ and helped me into a wonderful deliverance from drugs and riotous living—my teacher and mentor—wounded me deeply. My wife and I left with nothing except five little children, four suitcases, a slandered reputation, and shattered hearts.
I could not understand for many years what happened to us, and especially why. I wandered in a daze for years. Yet when the time came, God put it into my heart to seek Him again concerning it all. And He has shown me what happens through the trials of betrayal.
In a word, it is part of God’s plan to bring us to spiritual maturity. He uses the forge of sufferings to purify our faith in Him. Through this He nurtures our growth until we express His divine nature through our walk in the Spirit. He ignites this growth by giving us something and someone to forgive. Once we get that, then He will work with us and through us to grow into more spiritual maturity.
He has commanded us to forgive each other. When we keep His command, agape love is produced in and through our hearts. Furthermore, He has promised to come and live and abide in us if we will forgive and obey the rest of His commandments. This in turn enables us to grow to be like Peter, James, John, and Paul. That’s what He has laid on our hearts, isn’t it? to be like them?
Consequently, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that is to try you as though some strange happened unto you…”
“It is only Love, and that is all…” Agape Love, that is.
Kenneth Wayne Hancock
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