Summary: God uses trials in our lives to strengthen our faith and to bring us to maturity. When trials come we should keep the long view and remember He has our best in mind.
Growing Through Trials
April 9/10, 2005
God uses trials in our lives to strengthen our faith and to bring us to maturity. When trials come we should keep the long view and remember He has our best in mind.
It’s the time of year when the lawns are all nice and green. Lawnmowers are up and running - and some people - the ones who really like to mow - are putting fertilizer on their lawns. Nice little chemical pellets. But that’s not what farmers use!
I grew up in the suburbs of Seattle and didn’t spend much of any time on a farm, but I remember shortly after moving to Canby in 1992 riding my bike out around some of the farmland in town and smelling the absolutely worst smell I can remember. I thought that the sewage line had broken somewhere - I mean it just about knocked me over. Then I realized what it was - nearby was a truck that was full of manure of some sort - evidently to fertilize the fields. I really had no idea that that was how my vegetables on my plate got to me - through the use of manure that smelled so terrible. (To this day I wonder how the “fertilizer truck man” does it!)
I wonder who it was that first discovered that manure mixed in the soil with plants would help them grow to maturity faster, and bear more fruit than without. Whoever it was - perhaps they found the principle in the Bible. Because it is a clear teaching of scripture that if we want to grow to maturity in our Christian faith, if we want to become strong and bear spiritual fruit, one of the things we’ll need is....fertilizer. Yup, dirty stinking fertilizer. Stuff that on the surface seems to have no purpose except to smell up our lives, but, when put in the hands of the master gardener, causes us to grow to maturity. I’m talking about the trials and adversities that all of us face from time to time in our lives.
I want to answer two questions today about the “fertilizer” of adversity in our lives:
Why do we need adversity?
How should we react when the fertilizer of adversity is plopped into our lives?
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-- kept in heaven for you,
5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
7 These have come so that your faith-- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,