Sunday, 17 October 2021 05:52

Article of faith: God is the troublemaker (2) - Femi Aribisala

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Femi Aribisala Femi Aribisala

God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and End of all things. (Revelation 1:8). Accordingly, He not only brings trouble to men, but He also redeems men from trouble.

The psalmist says: “God turns man to destruction.” (Psalm 90:3). But he also acknowledges that it is God who redeems our life from destruction. (Psalm 103:4). 

Here is the kingdom dynamic: “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.” (1 Samuel 2:6-7). “He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.” (Job 5:18).

Contradictions of faith

The good of God often comes only after something bad happened. God does not make the good out of the good. He makes the good out of the bad. He creates success out of failures. He creates life out of death. He creates wealth out of poverty. 

He also brings joy out of sadness: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5). 

Indeed, God often makes things very bad as a preface to making them very good. This is the principle behind His salvation:

“The law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20-21).

Accordingly, Simeon prophesied to Mary that Jesus would cause many to fall and then cause them to rise. “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against.” (Luke 2:34).

Misnomers

Paradoxically, bad things bring out the best in believers. The wisdom of God says our enemies are not our adversaries but our allies. Indeed, they are often members of our household. (Matthew 10:36).

Therefore, we should love and appreciate them for they help us to learn godliness and to attain the righteousness of God.

James says:

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12).

We must respond to the challenges of our troubles by working out our true selves; our God-created selves. The things that glorify God are often at variance with our pleasures and convenience.

God is in the business of trying our hearts and our faith. He sends trials to prove and strengthen our graces. He is determined to test the genuineness of our virtues and to add to their vigour. Our faith is so important to God that He will not shield us from those trials by which our faith is strengthened.

Believers are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.” (Isaiah 6:3). We become even better rooted after we have been buffeted by strong winds and storms, making us dig deeper to take firm hold of the precious truths of the gospel of our salvation.

Blessing of trouble

Worldly ease is the enemy of faith. Faith without trials is worthless. It makes believers: “clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots.” (Jude 12).

Faith prospers in adversity. No water tastes so sweet as the one we drink in the boiling heat of the desert. No star shines so brightly as the one that glistens in the dark polar sky. And no faith is so precious as the one that lives and triumphs in adversity. 

Therefore, the psalmist testifies to the blessing of trouble:

“You, O God, have tested us; you have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; you laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but you brought us out to rich fulfilment.” (Psalm 66:10-12). 

Know this: the fire of God only refines, it does not destroy. When God’s fire burns the bush, the bush is not burnt. (Exodus 3:2-3). When silver is refined in the fire, only the dross is removed.

Moreover, we are brought through the fire; we are not left in it. This is God’s assurance: 

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2).

Godly sorrow

We often confuse the absence of problems with blessings, when it might be a curse. Amos says: “Woe to you who are at ease in Zion.” (Amos 6:1). The man who lives a life of ease and therefore feels no need for God is at the end most miserable. 

Rather, anything that drives us to our knees before God, making us call upon him, is a blessing. Trouble is a specialist at doing that. 

It pushes us closer to God. 

If we were wise, we would rather welcome God’s refining process than decline it. Our prayer should be that our alloy should be taken from us, rather than that we should be withdrawn from the crucible.

When a man of the world is sad, it means something bad happened to him. But when a believer is sad, it means something good is going to happen to him. Godly sorrow comes not to make us miserable but to wipe away every tear from our eyes. (Revelation 21:4).

Trials and tribulations, afflictions, and adversities are all designed to bring believers into closer intimacy and knowledge of God. 

Accordingly, the psalmist acknowledged to God that: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71).

50:20 principle

The beauty of kingdom dynamics is that it confounds all natural expectations. Samson says: “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” (Judges 14:14). 

What was intended to kill became a source of nourishment. What was designed to impede became a stepping-stone.

Joseph says to his wicked brothers who sold him as a slave to Egypt: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20). 

Had they not sold him into slavery, he would not have become the prime minister of Egypt. Had they not sold him, he would not have become the instrument of their salvation from famine. 

Troubles provide invaluable life lessons. Nevertheless, expect God to deliver you from all of them.

Habakkuk says:

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls- yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

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