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Monday, February 25, 2008

God's Purposes in Our Difficulties

Romans 8:28-29 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

If we could choose the number of difficulties we want to face in a month, most of us would pick zero. Yet, God sees value in difficult times. Through His mighty power, He uses trials to accomplish His plans.

One of God's purposes for us is a growing intimacy in our relationship with Him. But He knows we struggle to put Him first over our own interests. Many of us place higher priority on family and friends than on companionship with God. For others, finances, work, or even personal pleasures interfere. When the Lord sees that our attention is drifting away from Him, He might use hardships to draw us back so we'll refocus.

Another reason God allows difficulties is to conform us to the image of Jesus. Pain is a tool that brings areas of ungodliness to the surface. God also uses it to sift, shape, and prune us. The sanctification process, the building of Christlike character into our lives, starts at salvation and ends with our last breath.

A third purpose for stressful circumstances is to reveal true convictions. Our faith is tested in tough times. It's easy to say, "God is good," when things are peaceful. But when everything goes wrong, what do we believe about Him? Do our words and actions reveal an attitude of trust?

King David endured many heartaches: a disintegrating family, personal attacks, and betrayal by close friends. But through his trials, he gained deeper intimacy with God, stronger faith, and more godly character. Won't you let God accomplish His purposes in your present situation?


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