Last week I played tennis for the first time this year. It wasn’t long before the hot sun took its toll on this old body. After the match two things dawned on me. First, I am not young anymore. Secondly, and more importantly, I was reminded of how important it was for me to resume the pain of my regular gym workouts, especially if I want to finish the match.
I hate working out. I just can’t comprehend those who say, “I just love working out.” I didn’t like working out when I was 20 years old and I don’t like it now. It hurts and “no” I don’t feel better after working out. How can pain, suffering and fatigue make you feel better?
However, I have learned that if I want to last for 2 hours on the tennis court and finish the match, working out must be a part of my daily routine. Even though working out is not my favorite thing to do, I will admit that I do like the benefits of working out. When I am in shape, I have more stamina, feel better and even my sleep is more restful. I know the long term benefits of working out far out weigh the pain and suffering of the moment.
In a spiritual sense, pain, suffering, trials and tribulations are God’s way of getting us in spiritual shape. If it weren’t for troubles and trials then we would become passive and spiritually lukewarm. We would grow complacent and self-absorbed to the point that we would think we didn’t need God every moment.
Ever wonder why so many people turn to God in times of suffering and trials. Over the years, many people have come to my office because of some sort of failure or trouble that had gotten them out of control. They couldn’t fix the problem, but the surprising thing is their problems had a way of pushing them back to the Lord. It came to their attention that they had been living their life in their own strength and fully self-absorbed.Trials not only push us toward the Lord but it helps us retain the spiritual territory we’ve gained, and it allows us to keep the enemy at bay. It reminds us that we need God every moment of the day.The devil’s plan is to take the fight out of us so we give up. But if we are trial-hardened we will trust God completely and look for His divine leadership in every situation.
What kind of trial are you going through right now? I encourage you to take hold of your trial by faith and believe God has allowed it for your benefit. He is using it to make you stronger and to help you have endurance in order to be victorious and finish the match. Whatever you are struggling with today, stop and ask God to show you His perspective on your problem. Look for what He may be trying to show you through this struggle.
“So we are not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making a new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – The Message)