When Trials Become Sin
This may seem like an odd title, but it is definitely something I’ve seen that was happening in my own life. It helps me to write things out so I can see the full impact of my actions/inactions and either continue in the right or stop the wrong. I hope that my story can be a help to others so this doesn’t happen to them.
As we’ve gone through some pretty hefty trials this last year, there were times when I was so overwhelmed and all I could think about was what we were going through. God was not in the forefront, the center or anywhere He should have been in my thoughts. I was headed down a path that would end up with me being so wrapped up in the hurt, the betrayal, the actual things going on around me, that I lost sight of The One who allowed all these trials to come upon me to strenghten me. Oh yes, I could quote verses about God being in control, and that all would be okay, but I was focusing on that rather than focusing on my Lord!
Remembering that anything that takes the preeminence in my heart other than God is an idol, I realized the trials/hurt, etc. had become the center – hence and idol – SIN.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter if the trials ever end or they get bigger and bigger. That’s not where my focus needs to be. All I am MUST be focused on the Lord, not what He is doing, whether He brings trials or easier times.
My Bible tells me many things about what position/priority God MUST have in my life, and I’ll quote some of them further, but it can all be summed up in very short passages as relayed in three of the Gospels:
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:28-33
It is also recounted in Luke 10:25-37, but in this instance, the Lord emphasizes the fact that we sin because we cannot love the Lord in this way, but it should still be our goal. Whenever I make it my goal to “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength”, my heart is at peace. Come what may, good or bad, I’m not flustered, angry, upset, distraught, etc.
Here’s a brief account of this last week. It was interesting to say the least.
Sunday am: Asked to take in a friend from out of town who’s wife has been medivacced to local hospital for “flesh eating disease”. Didn’t know at this point if she was going to make it.
Sunday pm: 10 minutes escorting our friend to our home after church, our 9 year old border colie dies
Monday am: deal with disposal of beloved pet
Monday afternoon to 1am: rush husband to doc then hospital fearing heart attack. No heart attack but suspect angina attack – symptoms identical and still kicks the stuffing out of him
Tuesday afternoon: take husband to naturopath, confirm angina attack and that it was SEVERE. Narrowly avoid heart attack.
Wednesday afternoon: find one of our cats outside and he’s barely able to move. Think he was in a cat fight.
Thursday am: realized cat had been runover by car, not catfight. Losing another pet this week was not a preferred option. Rush to vet. After some treatment, he’s going to be okay.
Also throughout the week, dealing with personal attacks on our family. Our friend in the hospital is still touch ‘n’ go, but she’ll be in hospital here at least 3 more weeks.
While going through this all, I was truly amazed at the peace God gave when I struggled to focus on Him. Then the following came to mind:
1. Alpha and Omega:
My thoughts should always begin and end with Him.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 Also Revelation 1:11, Rev. 21:6, Rev 22:13
He should have the preeminence (first place) in all things, and that includes my trials.
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18
3. Focus: He should always be the focus. My “spiritual” eyes must be always looking to Him:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:2-3
Remembering these three things have been a huge help in placing the Lord first, versus letting the trials be my focus and become sin.
The following verse has also been in the forefront this week as I sought grace to go through whatever the Lord would have for me:
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
He wants us to come to Him, not shy away when trials come, and let us not forget our purpose:
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalms 89:1