Troubles, Trials, Woes

“In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.”

Deuteronomy 8:16 NASB

The word “good” translated from the Hebrew literally means “make well” and figuratively is said to mean “happy, successful, right.” There, in this passage, is the element that it seems to me is so often forgotten: “to do good for you in the end.” So it follows if we forget that part when trouble comes upon us, as it will always do, we despair, and lay down in our discouragement. Rather ought we not rise up to the occasion to glorify G-d despite troubles, trials, woes?

What does it mean to glorify G-d in our times of darkness but to heed the imperative to practice righteousness, to love. (1John 3:10). Practicing righteousness is the demonstration of our faith. We don’t earn the good that is ours “in the end.” We walk in righteousness as a result of the salvation freely received, not based upon our merit—a salvation we did not earn.

This walk, this demonstration of our faith is written of by John: “. . .let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (1 John 3:18 NASB) Deed means work, performance in a continuing manner. It means not just doing once, but to continue in our doing. This is why we say to “walk with MessiahChrist.” We don’t simply come to know Y’shuaJesus as our Lord and Savior then sit and wait for our end. We walk.

This walk requires us to go beyond ourselves and our immediate circumstances, our trials and even our joys. A song from the American Sixties speaks of this looking beyond ourselves, quoting a Persian proverb “I wept because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet.” This comparison helps us put ourselves into perspective. We can, despite our circumstances, put on a friendly face, offer at least a smile. We dwell not on our lack of shoes, not even on the other person’s lack of feet, but upon the graciousness of the Lord who loves us both.

There is a relative thinking that pervades America these days comparing ourselves one to another without going beyond certain boundaries. It echoes a sentiment from another American Sixties song: “Oh, Lord, won’t You buy me a Mercedes Benz; my friends all have Porches and I must make amends.” I see this in a family of four (a husband and his wife, and two children) who recently sold their house because it was too small for them. The had a four-bedroom home with four bathrooms, a two-car garage, a family room, a living room, a dining room, and a large kitchen with another dining area. They compared themselves to friends with larger homes, with recreation rooms in basements, and more garage space, and more bedrooms. Not far from their home lived several families of similar size each in trailer homes. These trailers have perhaps two or three bedrooms, a kitchen with dining area, and a living area, and one bathroom and a dirt area to park a car.

I believe we ought to go far beyond ourselves and our immediate trials, beyond our circle of friends, to trials of others, our neighbors. Then we ought to ask the question of what our response should be. Perhaps we are to be content with our situation. Or perhaps we are to extend help to another in greater need. The answer, to continue on the American Sixties music trend, isn’t just “blown in the wind.” It is found in prayer.

Thank you, most gracious Lord for Your love and Your strength as we stumble and fumble along on this journey, this walk with You. Amen.

L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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