HOW SHOULD WE REACT TO OUR TRIALS?
Eric V. Snow, Sermonette, 7-14-07, Ann Arbor, MI UCG
Two weeks ago, I went to Milwaukee for the Focused Education weekend. Mr. Rhodes and Luker gave the split sermons during services. Various speakers gave seminars to small groups. Helen Richards spoke about the causes of mental illness. Merna Leisure gave a power point presentation about the ways to manage anger. Rachel Quast discussed the problem of overeating. Mr. Rhodes described same sex attraction. On Sunday, there were two speakers. Mrs. Leisure described her family background and how she slid into alcoholism when middle-aged. Mr. Luker spoke about how he suffered from being raised in an alcoholic family.
Consider all these terrible trials people can have from emotional and mental problems. Others have trials from bad health, poor finances, marital problems, conflicts with relatives, and childrearing issues. Let’s look today at how Christians should react to the trials they endure, whether self-inflicted or not.
S.P.S. Christians need to react to their tests and trials as Jesus did, without bitterness, without seeking revenge, but with peacefulness and patience.
Salvation compared to running a race: Is running itself pleasant physically? True, there’s that “runner’s high,” but intrinsically it requires discipline and exersion.
V.2: Jesus saw the ultimate outcome of his supreme test and trail would be good, so he felt joy before being crucified.
v. 3: Could we react to our trials as Jesus did?
v. 5: If God is punishing us, we shouldn’t be discouraged: It shows He’s involved in our lives and that we’re His sons. He cares to intervene in our lives now, not after the second resurrection or after the millennium begins.
vs. 9-10: If our human fathers punished us yet we paid them respect still, how much more should we respect God’s disciplining of us.
I Peter 2:18+
Let’s update and reapply the terminology here. Suppose it said “employees” and “bosses.” How do we react to having a bad boss? Do we look for ways to strike back and get revenge? Do we try at least once to go to him or her alone to see if private advice and correction could work? If that fails, do we pray to God be protected and to work better to please him or her? Could it be merely a test that God allows to see how we’ll react to unjust authority?
v. 23+: Notice that Jesus didn’t seek revenge and didn’t insult or mock them back. But do we run down bad bosses behind their backs routinely? Can we objectively find one or more things they do or say that’s right and good?
“Unfairness” issue: Do we suffer with patience? May be delivered in time from one’s enemy. “May Day” revelation at own company.
I Peter 4:12+:
Do we react to sudden, unexpected problems with irritation, anger? Postal meter and key making problems examples. Why do we expect everything to be easy & quick? Staples button/slogan won’t fit life often: “That was easy!”
V. 14: If we’re persecuted for being Christians, not merely for making mistakes or committing sins, could we react to persecution with a right spirit?
V. 15: Are we really sinning? Do we think that our marriage problems and childrearing problems are only the fault of the other parties? Could there be some shared blame that would be discovered upon inspired self-examination?
V. 16: How should we feel if we’re fired or not hired for keeping the Sabbath or the Holy Days? If we suffer because we’re being persecuted as Christians, we shouldn’t feel embarrassed.
V. 18+: Shouldn’t we aim for spiritual excellence, not just “getting by”? Again, are we trying to get as close to the line of sin as we can while trying to get as much pleasure in this life as we can?
Do we conform to the world’s standards because we fear the insults and ridicule of our co-workers, neighbors, and/or family?
Conclusion: We should bear with our trials and tests with patience and peacefulness instead of with anger and wanting revenge.