My pastor, David Berkheimer, made the following statement in one of his sermons: “I believe with all my heart that the greatest trials of life are the obedient things God calls us to do.” He pointed out that it is difficult to show that the trials we sometimes face are often in the path God is leading us. A prime illustration of this is in the life of Abraham, the father of our faith. For example:
God spoke to Abraham and said: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation and bless you. I’ll make you famous; you’ll be a blessing. I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 MESG)
In that day, going into Canaan, the place God was leading Abraham, was like going into Indian territory in the Old West. There was no law, it was the survival of the fittest. It was not a land filled with good crops, a lot of it was barren wilderness. Nevertheless, God told Abraham “if you go that way, I will bless you and make you a blessing.”
Abraham decided to go the path God directed him and, indeed, he did walk right into trials and difficulty. Abraham was 75 when he left his homeland. That is a time to retire, not think about going to a difficult place. The trials were the kind of thing that would challenge his relationship with God, challenge his thinking. “Am I walking the right way?” “Did I really hear your voice leading me this way?”
One of Abraham’s biggest challenges was “DELAY.” The promised son that he and Sarah had been promised, didn’t appear to be coming. So, they decided to use Hagar, Sarah’s servant, to give them a son. Actually, what they were doing was trying to make it easier on themselves and to satisfy the situation, but that wasn’t God’s ways. All it did was bring misery.
The bottom line was: they failed to trust "God's Perfect Time" for their son, Isaac, to be born, which was when Abraham was 100 years old. God’s promises are always fulfilled.
I personally have to agree with Pastor Berkheimer’s statement that I quoted in the beginning of this blog: “I believe with all my heart that the greatest trials of life are the obedient things God calls us to do.”
One of the most difficult trials of my life came as a result of walking down the path I felt God was leading me. It definitely took me into barren land; a place I had never been before. There were days that I felt as though He was leading me among giants, before walled cities, as well as a Red Sea in front of me with no way of crossing it.
It would have been nice had God laid out every little detail for this journey from the start, but then that would not have been a walk of faith, would it? Meanwhile, according to the Bible, I was supposed to be "joyful."
Say what? Yes, that is exactly what it says in James 1:1-2: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perservance. (NIV)
I confess I had a hard time doing this. Do you suppose I might have had a trust issue like Abraham and Sarah? I learned the hard way that being joyful had nothing to do with my feelings.
What about you? Do you feel a nudge that God is leading you into a New Beginning? If so, take that leap of faith and begin your journey.
The path God is leading you down is most likely the plan He chose for you in order for you to become all that He created you to be.