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May Your Sufferings Bear Good Fruit

1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. We will all go through tough times. Times when we feel as if God does not see or hear us when we cry out to Him. However, we can rest assured that He hears us because crying out to Him is exactly what He desires that we do. Here is one example:

1 Samuel 7:7-9 NIV

“7 When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. 8 They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.”

The Attack of the Enemy…

Verse 7 tells us that God’s people were under attack. The word Philistine defined means hostile. Some synonyms are: barbarian or savage. How often as a child of God in 2021 are you met with hostility while exercising your faith, sometimes even minding your own business? They set up place at Mizpah a Hebrew word which means: “watchtower.” In Genesis 31:49, Laban and Jacob entered into an agreement by piling rocks (symbol for God) with God as their witness (their watchtower over this promise they entered into). Read verses 44-55 for context. Isn’t it just like the enemy to attack you when you’re trying to go up higher with God? Recognize this tactic for what it is.

Keys for Your Success…

Verse 8 tells us that the Children of Israel sought out Samuel to intercede for them—to cry out to God on their behalf. Even more: “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that He may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” Are you ever desperate to be rescued from whatever form of hostility you are facing? These people can relate. Verse 9 tells us that Samuel sacrificed an animal to God. In most places in the world today, we no longer do this kind of sacrifice. If you are wondering what then to do, in 1 Samuel 15:22 NIV, Samuel says: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

APPLY the Keys: Crying Out & Obedience…

God’s Word says: we will seek Him and find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13). Obey His Word. So, when you are pressed on all sides, spend more time seeking Him with all of your heart. Verse 9 continues to say that God answered Samuel. This means two things: God heard Samuel and his sacrifice was one God considered worthy. You ARE a sacrifice. In Romans 12:1 NIV, the Apostle Paul tells us this: “…I urge you, brother and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” In order to be a worthy sacrifice, we must be in right standing with God and the Apostle Paul tells us how: “holy and pleasing.” To get here requires repentance. Confess your sins to God and do actions that align with being sorry and truly desiring to change. 1 John 1:9 NIV tells us this: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This is the God of Jesus Christ.

When we can't trust our feelings due to temporary life cycles, we can certainly trust God's unchanging Word. Tests and Trials…

I read once where a man of God said: while you're taking a test, is the teacher not silent? (Paraphrased from a written statement by Tracy Cooke) This question has now become a tool for me. It helps me to be aware of moments of testing. So, rather than assume or believe the lie that I am being punished by God, I have learned to apply these practical steps: get alone with God and press in until He sends relief. Cry out to Him until He answers. He will answer. If you are reading this and are skeptical, open your Bible to the Book of Psalms and read how David, through all of his trials cried out and clung to God until God would answer.

What Started it all… This week has been rough. Yes, I am a Christian. Yes, I will suffer. It is my choice however, whether that suffering bears good fruit for the Kingdom of Heaven (making me more like Jesus) or will all be for nothing (paraphrased from Bobby Conner). I have been unable to read my Bible as I would like to. I had no desire to—the pressure seemed too heavy. I knew my answer would be in God’s Word, but if I couldn’t even pick it up, how would help come? The Day God Answered…

Each time I woke up throughout the night and this morning, I was singing. I wasn't sure what I was experiencing. It was like a radio and every station had a worship song. Today is now day four of feeling this heavy pressure, burnout, exhaustion. After fully waking up, I listened to one song I remembered: “This Love” by Stairway Music. The music player then automatically went to the next song which is not one that I sang throughout the night so I turned it off in an attempt to recall another song. It turns out that one of the songs I was singing throughout the night had lyrics about God’s presence and the name of this seemingly random song that had begun to automatically play is called: “Song for His Presence” by: Hillsong Young & Free. Can we just stop here to acknowledge the genius of God? Glory!

As I finished listening to the second song, I began to pray. Still fully aware of the pressure I am feeling, "a way of escape" (KJV) came to me. I Googled it and 1 Corinthians 10:13 came up.

Here's What God Did…

He made "a way of escape" for me so I can bear under the pressure of this current test. As I realized that the way of escape that God has made for me to get THROUGH rather than over this trying time is worship, I said: "This verse is true." YES. I believe the Word of God. I believe God but I haven't yet experienced all of Him in every case. Similar to getting to know someone new. You don't know them in every instance until you go through it. As God has taken me through so much of His Word (His personality/character) in this way so far, I now have no doubt about THOSE verses. None. I KNOW. This is the relationship I have with God. This is how He teaches ME about Himself. Honestly, I've been crying out to God for days. Around day two, I asked what He is trying to teach me through this current time and He answered. He told me what character trait He is trying to instill in me through this trial. I didn't think I heard Him clearly at first. I now KNOW I did. Nevertheless, trials are HARD. They're meant to be the perfect conditions to acquire the perfect results: us into the image of His Son Jesus (paraphrased from Neville Johnson). Hebrews 5:8 tells us that it is through suffering that Jesus learned obedience. In the same way, we are not exempt from these tests if heaven is where we desire to be after we have left this life. Some Encouragement...

I want to encourage you to hang in there, okay? You're not alone and He is ALWAYS with you through all you will face with the way for your escape close by. This post, strategies, clarity, new understanding, a little closer to Jesus are good fruit that all came from my days of suffering. Was it worth it? 100%.

I challenge you to:

1) Seek God until He answers. He will.

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