When Trials Reveal Our Heart
Life is hard. Mothers-in-Law toss out ‘well-meaning advice’ that is full of hurt. Medical reports come back with fatal news. And bosses say, “no,” as they hand you a pink slip and push you out the door. Life is hard.
The life of the young parent is especially trying. There are sleepless nights, never ending tantrums, and shrinking budgets. Life is just plain hard.
If you are not struggling and do not know someone who is struggling through life, I suspect you might be living in the matrix.
Thankfully our suffering does not surprise God. James tells us to count it all joy when we run into these trials. Paul talks about all of creation groaning under the strain of the fallen world. We should not be surprised that life is hard because our world is overrun with sin. The beauty of the gospel is not that Jesus removes all troubles. The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus gives us the power to overcome all our trials.
In Matthew 7:24-27, we come across the famed children’s story of the wise and foolish men who build their houses on the rock and on the sand. Despite the cute children’s song based on this parable, there is nothing cute about the parable.
Jesus talks about rains, flood, and wind. In ancient Judaism, the images of floods and storms point to suffering and sorrow. Death will touch our families. Kids will rebel. Good health will disappear. The parable assumes that life is hard.
But, it also assumes that Jesus is greater than all our trials. Those who trust in Jesus for their salvation, those who place all their hope in the cross, and those who seek to follow God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength will be able to withstand the suffering and endure. They will not crumble into a shell of themselves when they lose their job. They will not turn to drugs when their wife leaves them. And, they will not leave church because their child dies. Those who have built their lives on Christ by doing his Word will stand. They will stand not because they are great. They stand because the rock is firm.
But those who do not obey God will crumble when sickness hits, when rejection comes, and when friendships end. The man that lives for himself will naturally turn to drugs when life is hard and lose his family. The man trapped in an unhappy marriage will have an affair when his wife keeps complaining. And the unemployed woman will steal from her mom when she loses. They turn to sin because they have always been living for themselves. Their self-worship is usually masked well by church attendance, tithing, and the occasional spiritual conversation. But secretly they live for themselves. They regularly disobey God’s Word and find happiness in coveting, lusting, and desiring earthly pleasures. When the storms of life hit them, they disappear from church. They crumble into depression. And they lose all since of purpose. The storms of life exposed their foundation. And it was sand instead of Jesus.
The trials did not make anyone lose their faith. They simply show the world that they had no faith to begin with. Trials reveal the foundation of our lives. They do not create them.
When the storms come rumbling your way which foundation will they reveal in your heart?