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For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout
from the ground.  Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly
upward. (Job 5:6-7 NIV)
I'd like to think that calamity will visit everyone but me, but I know
it isn't true. Calamity will visit your home, and it will visit mine too.
Everyone suffers. Why?
Well for one thing, random selection will mean that I'll have my turn.
If one out of a thousand people will get a certain disease, then I have
one chance out of a thousand that it will be me.
Other times, I suffer because of something stupid I've done. If I eat
too much, I can't blame anyone but myself that my stomach hurts, or that
I gain weight.
Sometimes I suffer because Satan is attacking me. Satan is alive and
well, and he will do anything he can to keep God's people from touching
lives and changing the world.
But sometimes, I suffer at God's hand. God uses trials to discipline,
instruct and build character in me.
My first reaction to trials is "Why me?" But the more I think about
it, my first response should be, "Why not me?" I mean, aren't I a part
of the human race, and statistically, won't some bad stuff happen to me?
And don't I do stupid stuff that has consequences? Why would Satan pick
on everyone else and leave me alone? And doesn't God love me and want to
discipline, instruct and build character in me?
After my initial emotional reaction to trials, I've learned to clear
my head and ask myself some questions. Is there something I need to learn
from this? Am I doing something stupid that I need to stop doing? Do I
need to build defenses against a satanic attack? What is God trying to
In the quiet moments that follow those questions, I hear the voice of
God. And when I do, the trial becomes an asset, not a liability.
Read the sermon
that corresponds to this devotional.