Present Trials: What Next? – by Jim Barratt

We are under present trials, and protection from God is, I expect, a topic on which we are constantly meditating at the moment. Indeed, we could be excused for thinking Australia is at war – as we have had a debilitating drought, in some cases followed by destructive floods; extensive and vicious bushfires around Australia; and now a global pandemic with social restrictions, illness and death.   These have challenged our lifestyle, our personal livelihoods, the wider economy, our ordinary social institutions, and affected the natural environment.  

What Next?

And these are in addition to any more personal ongoing challenges or present trials that we may each be facing. “What next?”, we might think.  Could there be more trials to come? Fear not! God knows what is coming and He knows the way to take us through our present trials. It is He commands us to “fear not” and to keep on sharing the good news with others, as we are all under the same present trials. Outward things are significant and while I say that they do deserve some of our attention, the things of God must be first above all.  

Challenge

What I am challenging us all to do is to see all these present trials in the context of Christ’s victory on the cross. Our calling in Him is a call to persevere in faith and hope with a positive mindset, and to do so remembering God’s love for us and extending that to others where-ever and whenever we possibly can. Let’s hear what God is saying through His scriptures.  

Invitation

The following is a set of notes I took down during my meditation on the scriptures that were set for today (19th April).  Please take my invitation to compare these notes with what the Lord is saying to you in studying them yourselves.  

Psalm 16 David celebrates God’s protection and provision in present trials through praising God

  • Jesus is our refuge and all good things come from God
  • God delights in His believers (saints), but with time it is all woe for unbelievers
  • Jesus has a good plan for His saints both now and in eternity – a brilliant plan
  • Meanwhile, as we praise God, we stand because the Holy Spirit instructs and strengthens us
  • We rejoice and are filled with joy because Jesus rose from the dead
  • Jesus is the path to life, joy in the Holy Spirit and eternal blessing >>>
If we are challenged under present trials, and in trouble, then turn to praise God – He will strengthen and guide us. Do not worship the problems or present trials by over-worrying about them. Worship the living Lord, our Lord Jesus who rose victorious from the dead.  

In Acts 2:4a, 22-32 Peter explains the cross was no accident

  • Jesus was accredited by God through many miracles
  • Jesus was put to death on the cross according to God’s plan and purpose and God raised Jesus from the dead according to the prophecies of His anointed ones
  • Jesus rejoiced because God revealed to Him the cross was the “path to life” for believers
  • Jesus was filled with joy as He was reunited with The Father through His resurrection.
So It’s all about Jesus, His life, His death, His resurrection and now His life being expressed through us. The cross was and is our pathway to life – it was not an unfortunate glitch that God had to respond to. It was a present trial for Jesus, and he had to endure the cross, but it was “for the joy set before Him”.  

The passage from 1 Peter 1:3-9 Peter explains the gift of our Living Hope

  • We are given new birth into a living hope through Jesus’ resurrection
  • We are given an eternal inheritance waiting in Heaven
  • We are given protection by God’s power, through faith, while we wait to join Jesus
  • We are to rejoice in the midst of grief and present trials because they refine our faith
  • As our faith is proved genuine, it is to God’s glory when Jesus comes.
  • Through faith, we believe and love Jesus, even though we have not seen Him, and are filled with joy in the Holy Spirit.
Believers are given new birth awaiting an eternal inheritance in Heaven. Meanwhile, God is shielding us and enabling us to grow in faith in good times and bad. This brings us great joy and is to God’s glory.  

From John 20:19-31 we see Jesus, the risen Lord

He is visiting His saints while they are hiding under their present trials. Below, I have recorded some points from this passage that apply to me, and I urge you to do the same. It has led me to confessions that God will use to set me free from my hiding places. We all have those, and so I invite you to take some time to reflect on this passage, with the others above and see what the Lord says to you.  God will speak to you as He intends.
  1. Does God bring us our present trials? If not, who does?
  2. Does God use trials when they come? If so, who does He help?
  3. What is the pathway to life?
  4. Are we born again if we do not believe in the resurrection?
  5. Would it be better to follow Jesus in His time on earth or now?
  6. What does a growth in faith entail?
  7. What is the point of our growing in faith, hope and love?
 

Please share your thoughts and listen to others – at an appropriate “social distance”!

God usually guides us gently towards the truth, while fear and fleshly desires tend to shout to us. Even under the present trials which clamour for our attention, listen for that quiet clear voice. Listen too, to your congregational leaders at this time.  

Application

In our present trials will we follow Jesus in His pathway of life? Will we move on from being initially forgiven, to be confessing our sins as they arise, and to work with God’s cleansing work through His Word, even in the midst of trial or trouble? Will we serve according to the power that God has awaiting us and that He reveals as we follow Jesus?  

Prayer

Father God, I thank you for the congregation at Port Broughton who have always welcomed me, encouraged me, watched over me in prayer and blessed me. I take the opportunity as I write, to pray over your people as provided by You, in Jesus’ name (Ephesians 3:16-21). v16 I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you, the Port Broughton congregation, with power through His Spirit in your inner being, v17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, v18 may have power, together with all the LORD’s holy people, to grasp how wide, and long, and high, and deep, is the love of Christ, v19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God. v20-21. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Jim Barratt, 19th April 2020

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