I came across an interesting concept recently: our trials increase as we grow in maturity in our Christian walk. It’s a remarkable paradox: the harder the trial, the greater the victory, and the more of a blessing our lives will eventually be to others. If you’re reading this, and in the midst of one of your biggest tests, take heart. If you’re sitting the exam, it means your heavenly Father believes you can pass it, even if you have to retake a couple of times!
I love it when someone shares their story with me, and encouragement just flows from their heart. On our radio show, The Family Hour on Premier Gospel, we make sure we share someone’s testimony at least twice a month.
I recently interviewed a lady, who has overcome breast cancer five times and is currently in remission. She was so full of the joy of the Lord; her attitude ministered to me more than a million messages on ‘Jehovah Rapha our Healer’ ever could. Not only has she battled cancer five times, but she has done this knowing that she had lost two siblings to different cancers – and she is from a strong Christian family. By the time I left the studio, I was spiritually realigned, and whatever I was going through seemed insignificant.
But, as a beloved friend said to me, nothing that concerns us is insignificant to God. We don’t have to feel ashamed of feeling overwhelmed. God reveals Himself in the difficulties of our lives. How will we truly know Him as our Healer if we have never been sick or heartbroken? How can we praise Him as our Deliverer or Provider if we have not had to wait on Him to provide our needs or set us free from some form of addiction?
Trials and tests are an inevitable part of the Christian walk; you could say that they are the fertiliser that triggers depth and growth. Salvation is free, but discipleship costs. The fruit of the Spirit is free, but it is not cheap, and twenty years into my Christian walk I am starting to realise it.
Do you remember the film, Fame, and that famous Debbie Allen quote? “You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying. In sweat.”
If we want lives sold out for Christ, full of impact and influence, touching other lives in a way that leaves an indelible mark in history long after we’ve gone – well, it will cost. That cost will sometimes be in sweat, tears and in prayer before God, day and night. It won’t always be comfortable, it will mean forgiving when forgiveness is the last thing we want to do. It will mean being quiet and still – when we want to blab and scream – and holding on to our joy and peace and smiling through the storm. Human reasoning is incapable of fully understanding the peace of God that will empower us to smile through the storm.
When Jesus hung on that bloody cross, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.
The NIV version says: ‘The punishment that bought our peace was upon Him’ (Isaiah 53:5). The Message version says: ‘He took the punishment and that made us whole.’ And the Amplified, my favourite, says: ‘The chastisement (needful to obtain) peace and well-being for us was upon Him’.
‘Trials and tests are an inevitable part of the Christian walk; you could say that they are the fertiliser that triggers depth and growth. Salvation is free, but discipleship costs.’
Our peace – and peace and joy go hand-in-hand – is part of the finished work of Christ on the cross. This means our lives as Christians should be and can be full of peace and joy. The devil cannot steal this from us, we can only hand it to him. Salvation is free, discipleship costs. The fruit of the Spirit is free but it is not cheap. But, guess what, because of the finished work of the cross and resurrection power we can handle the storms well. One of my favourite Scriptures is Revelation 12:11 (NIV). ‘They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.’ This says it all: triumph, a perfect sacrifice and testimony (or story) to tell on the other side. I think I am so passionate about this because my background is journalism, and I believe we all have a story tell that will help someone.
When you pass your next test, commit to sharing your testimony with someone and pass on the baton of faith, so that when they go through their trial they, too, can smile through it.
Esther Kuku love God, love life, love people.