Testing, One, Two, Three
|Robinson Crusoe, N.C. Wyeth|
This past weekend the ladies of our church had the heart-gladdening experience of sitting under the teaching of Nancy Wilson, wife of Pastor Doug Wilson. What an encouragement to learn from this wise wife, mother, and follower of the Lord.
In her final talk at our women's retreat, Nancy spoke on "Walking in Joy and Gratitude." One of the things she said that impressed me greatly is, "A trial is a test. And you know what to do in a test." Really? I thought. Do I? Then why do I feel so scared and inadequate? But the more I wrestled with that idea, the more sense it made. Our gracious God has given us plenty of help in His word in knowing how to deal with affliction. On top of that, we have wisdom from other believers to guide us "when perplexed." In that vein, here are a few things I've found to be helpful, some of which Nancy shared, and others I've run across recently.
Joy: "A deep satisfaction in the will of God." - Mrs. Jim Wilson (Nancy's mother-in-law)
Phil. 4: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Psalm 33:1 Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones; Praise is becoming to the upright.
I Thess. 5: 16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
"Affliction is a bitter root, but it bears sweet fruit" (Thomas Watson, Gleanings , 136).
James 1: 2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
"Discontent is an ungrateful sin, because we have more mercies than afflictions; and it is an irrational sin, because afflictions work for good" ( Thomas Watson, Gleanings , 38).
"I frequently sat down to my meat with thankfulness, and admired the hand of God's providence, which had thus spread my table in the wilderness.
I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted, and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them;
and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see and covet something He has not given them.
All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have."
~ Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe