Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blessed Afflictions

{God} said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.” (Genesis 15: 13-14 NASB)

One topic I have written a good deal about in this blog is the storms and trials God often takes us through. What can I say? It’s a subject I know all too well. As I was listening to a preacher last night, he preached a bit from Genesis 15, but spoke about the sacrifices that Abram laid out. In reading the chapter this morning, what jumped off the page to me are the verses quoted above.

The Israelites were in terrible bondage in Egypt. Exodus 1:14 gives a description of what they endured for four hundred years: “And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, [was] with rigour”. Finally, God sent Moses back to Egypt to deliver His people. As God said, they came out with abundance (Ex. 12:36).

While it is important to encourage each other to weather the storms in our lives, I believe it is also important to say that God wants us to bring out of our storms what we didn’t have before. I’m not talking about tangible things, though God most certainly can do that. Romans 5:3-5(NLT) says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us-they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” As we go through our trials, God wants to develop Godly character in us. He wants to bring us out with greater faith than when we went into the trial. He wants to bring us out with greater love, and with a greater understanding of His goodness. This affliction today is working a far greater and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17).

As I close out, I would like to mention the church at Thessalonica. They were an afflicted, persecuted church, yet they grew in adversity. They grew in faith and love (2 Thes. 1:3). So, just as they grew, let God grow you in you storm. And rejoice knowing that He will bring you out with more than you went into it with. God bless!

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