Saul had just been anointed Israel’s first King as recounted in the book, 1 Samuel, chapter 10.
24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, “ Long live the king!”……
(25b)…. and Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his house. 26 Saul also went to his house at Gibeah; and the valiant men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But certain worthless men said, “How can this one deliver us?” And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent.
I am learning that you can be in God’s will and right where He wants you to be AND there will be push back and opposition. The question then emerges: Why are we surprised?
Here are 3 facts:
1) Trials are intended to grow our patient trust (called steadfastness) in God. They are necessary for us to be complete. They are required if we are to be fully equipped, lacking nothing.
- James 1: 2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
2) God uses every aspect of these trials, aka painful circumstances & suffering, to bring about our maturity, training and equipping.
- Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose
3) Sometimes the secondary cause, the deliverer of the suffering/trial/hardship, is via spiritual forces of wickedness. God, the first-cause, allows these attacks for His own good and loving reasons.
One of those ‘good’ reasons is so we will KNOW how real and safe God’s Word is. Last week, I re-learned that lesson.
I had gone about 6 weeks with no parent complaints in this my first year in a new school.
I really didn’t see this one coming. And when the complaint filtered down to me via my principal (I explicitly excluded a disruptive child when I passed out mini marshmallows for good participation in class), I was emotionally drained. My confidence and enjoyment of the students had been growing since the nadir in January. But this episode set me back.
My tête-à-tête with my principal happened on a Thursday. And the following Monday I felt even lower. It was like I had lost all sense of purpose in life. I seriously considered how much money I could make cleaning homes as an alternative to THIS!!!
My poor husband didn’t know how to react to his normally optimistic, perky wife. But he defaulted to the most effective use of his time and words. He prayed fervently most of the evening, unlike Job’s friends.
And praise be to God, the next morning, something that Tullian Tchividjian said in a podcast brought relief. He was recounting his ‘year from Hell’, his first year as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft Lauderdale. And MY thought was this: “I bet Tullian seriously considered resigning and going to work at Lowe’s to support his family!” My next thought tumbled out: “Wow! Then we would have been deprived of his ministry of grace, his books and the Liberate Conferences! I bet this was spiritual attack by those who were bent on stopping any advance in the Kingdom!”
And just with that thought, I was ‘right-side-up’ again with purpose and renewed resolve NOT to let the enemy defeat me. It might be that God’s will for me at that school is just for this year. That decision is in His hands. But for now, I will fight on, determined to reach out to my students and colleagues and be available to them. I am learning the absolute reality and security of God’s word. As my cousin Terry reminded me:
And thank you, Michael, for your prayers. As James points out, “the fervent prayers of a man who is in right-standing with God make A LOT of power available!” (James 5:16)