‘He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon,’ Hosea Ch 14 v 5.
A Long Winter
As spring approached there was no sign of the daffodils in my garden bursting into bloom and as I looked across the marshy ground behind my house I could see no evidence of the irises which were usually, by this time of year, pushing spear shaped stalks up above the ground.
I began to wonder if the long winter was going to prevent the flowers from blooming.
However, with the onset of warmer weather, all my fears were dispersed ‘as the early dew,’ Hosea 6 v 4, as flowers appeared. Winter was past!
There can be testing times, in life’s experience, when we would dearly wish to say that ‘the winter is past,’ Solomon’s Song 2 v 11, for no matter how strong our faith in Jesus is, we are not exempt from trial for Jesus said ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation,’ John 16 v 33.
What was it that ensured the spring flowers would eventually burst into bloom? Surely it was the fact they were firmly rooted or entrenched in the ground, where they had lain dormant for many months. After flowering they had died back, their flowers and leaves had withered away, and to the untrained mind they would have appeared to be dead.
But there was still life in their bulbs, tubers or roots.
Dear reader, have you living spiritual roots? Are you so firmly rooted in Christ that you trust Him in every situation that comes your way? Or do trials burden you with negative and faith undermining thoughts?
I am reminded as I write this, that despite the long hard winter, it led to an exceptional display of flowers as my garden became alive with the cheering colours of spring. It would appear that the inclement weather had actually strengthened the rooting systems in which the life of the plants lay.
And so it often is, with tried and tested believers, that affliction and trials strengthen their faith in Jesus!
Better the End than the Beginning
Friends, sometimes our faith may appear to be like ‘a grain of mustard seed,’ Matthew 17 v 20; and sometimes Satan’s ‘devices,’ 2 Corinthians 2 v 11, can lead us to think that God has deserted us altogether. But we can be strengthened by the thought that though the Lord may ‘cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies,’ Lamentations 3 v 32.
There is an old adage that says ‘Better is the end of a thing than the beginning,’ Ecclesiastes 7 v 8.
May God help us to truly believe that for those who firmly trust in Jesus ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us,’ Romans 8 v 18.
May our faith, though sometimes weak, grow stronger as we experience, overcome and move on from the various trials of life. And, may we, by searching the scriptures, be encouraged by God’s dealings with the saints of old and how they coped.
Trials of Old
Job’s trials were so severe that he felt compelled to say ‘Let the day perish wherein I was born,’ Job 3 v 3. And yet, despite all his suffering he was able to say regarding God ‘Though he slay me yet will I trust in him,’ Job 13 v 15.
Paul was sorely tried on many occasions but could still say ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’ Romans 8 v 35.
Both were to find their faith rewarded.
Crowns of Glory
The ‘Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning,’ Job 42 v 12.
Paul could say that ‘Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,’ 2 Timothy 4 v 8.
May God help us to look beyond the trials of today and focus on what awaits us in glory. May we find that afflictions and trials grow into blessings and increase our faith, strengthen our perseverance and build up our hope for eternity.