To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. (Isaiah 61:3)
Jesus has promised trials in the lives of all of His disciples, regardless of the length of time we have been walking with Him. And because we know God does not make mistakes, we can be sure that every single trial we endure will ultimately become a treasure to us. It has been wisely said that “What we lose in the fire, we will gain in the ashes.” Our Lord Jesus is far too wise to ever be wrong and far too faithful to ever be false. He is always at work within us, and He will use every means necessary to conform us more and more into His likeness.
Now, the devil likes to hiss in our ears, “God doesn’t really care for you! If He did, why would He allow you to face such difficulties?” Never forget, Christian, that the devil is a liar and a murderer from the beginning. His desire is to steal, kill, and destroy. Because we live in a fallen and broken world as fallen and broken people interacting with other fallen and broken people, we will face trials of every imaginable kind. This is not a sign that God does not care for us. In fact, it is just the opposite! God does care; if you doubt that, think of God the Father allowing His beloved Son to die on a cruel cross . . . for you. And that same loving God has committed to using trials in our lives for our ultimate good; He will turn all our trials into a treasure.
Regardless of where this message finds you today, never forget that God is at work in your life. As you process the trials and difficulties you are facing, keep the truth of Psalm 119:75 in view: “In faithfulness you have afflicted me.” God sends storms into our lives in faithfulness as a way to bring us to the end of ourselves. Only as we decrease will our Lord Jesus increase in our lives. And experience has taught me that this increase does not take place when the sky is blue, the clouds are fleecy, and the sun is brightly shining. It happens when the sky is dark and the storm winds are blowing.
Praise God for the storms! He is using them to forge our very own crown of beauty.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!