Someone told me once, “A wise man learns from other people’s mistakes”. To a degree, I sort of disagree, but I guess it depends on what the mistakes are. Nothing teaches you better than your own experiences. You can’t tell someone about how God brought you through if you haven’t been through anything. You can’t relate to another person’s misery if you have not walked in their shoes. I know that I have learned much from my own life experiences, whether they were good or bad. I know I am a much wiser woman simply because God has placed me in positions in life that have forced me to grow. I probably put myself in those positions, but God knew before hand everything I would do in my lifetime and He allowed it to happen for a reason. Through our experiences we become qualified to teach others because we’ve been there and done that and we can say, “this is what the Lord did for me”. The battles that God brings us through, fortifies our strength in Him. Too many times we get knocked down by the devil, but if we allow Him, God will keep picking us up, dusting us off until we learn to totally depend on Him and not on ourselves. It is through our struggles and the experiences that life brings us that we learn and grow in the Lord and have our testimonies.
There is a lot to be said for experience. You either mature and learn from your dilemmas, or you keep going through the same kinds of struggles. At some point before you get to the second or third time around the same mountain, you begin to recognize something is wrong and it’s not God. I’m more than likely dealing with what I am going through with my own intellect and not using God’s word for the situation I’m in. I use to think if bad things were happening to me, it was because God was punishing me for something I did wrong. Of course I know better now. Whatever I did wrong, I asked for forgiveness and God forgave me. Those sins were thrown into the sea of forgetfulness forever. When the devil rears his ugly head and tries to remind me of things I’ve done in the past, all he does is remind me of how much God loves me and how much He has forgiven me for.
God allows us to go through different trials in our life because He is teaching us something about life, about ourselves and what is in us that needs to be fixed. Do you know that whatever difficulty, challenge, or suffering you may be going through is not wasted? It has purpose and when you come through, you will be a much wiser person for going through the process.
In 2 Corinthians 1:4-7 NLT – Paul writes 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
His overall goal is to draw us closer to Him while demonstrating to us that our Father (Abba) is all powerful, His word is true and the more we know Him and what He is capable of, the more we can trust Him. I wish I thought this way long ago when I was agonizing over what the devil was putting in my head. Now God gives me opportunities to share with others what He has done for me. We forget sometimes when we are going through trials that our time here on earth is a time of preparation for our future life in heaven.
James 1:2-4 says – 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. and 12-13 says – 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trials because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Consider – If we don’t go through anything how will we mature spiritually. How will we know what a mighty God we serve? It’s all about attitude and the way we think. Just like we teach our children to survive in this world, through discipline, chastisement and experiences so that they will grow to be intelligent, strong human beings, ready to face life’s challenges. God as our father does the same for us-His children. He loves us and wants us to be able to stand up with assurance in Him under the opposition the devil throws our way.
In the past, I’d do a lot of whining because the enemy was quick to throw doubts and questions into my mind. He would be the one who was winning. I’d question whether God really loved me or heard me when I was calling out to Him for help. The devil would whisper in my ear, you have sinned too much. This is pay back. God does not love you. You are an awful person and I would speak the words I was hearing – words of doubt instead of giving praise to God in the midst of my circumstances. But then I started to grow in the Lord and I would hear the Holy Spirit louder than I would hear the devil. He would whisper in my ear – read the word. God loves you with an everlasting love. He has not left you, nor will He forsake you. Apply the word to your life and watch God work. So I learned to pray His word over the situation, and always at the end of the trial, God would work it out.
The things that God brings us through, causes us to mature in Him. When I see the devil coming, I test myself. I run right to God and the Word. I try not to whine first and get down when bad things come my way. Mind you, I don’t jump for joy either – even though the verse says count it all joy. But I do go to the Lord and ask that He teach me what He wants me to learn through the circumstances I am going through and let me have a testimony at the end. I ask Him “How are you going to work this one out”? I get excited to see how He actually steps up to the challenge. I can tell you with assurance that He has proven Himself faithful over and over again. Nothing thrills me more than to have total victory over the devil in Jesus. He has shown me that if I do what His word says and have faith, He will use the opportunities I give to Him to show Himself mighty.
What I know now that I did not know then is that everything that God allows in my life has meaning and purpose. God is in control and nothing is separating us from our heavenly father’s love. For whatever happens, God is molding us and maturing us through every trial. Our job is to keep our eyes on Jesus and understand that He IS working it all out for our good and in the process we are maturing as Christians while He receives all the Glory.