Turning Trials Into Triumphs

FillingupBy Dr Steve Danso – Damon has been the choir leader of his church for over five years.  Very upbeat and confident about his responsibilities as a leader, he easily became one of the revered members of the church.  To the young ones, he was motivational and an inspirational figure.  Damon worked at a sugar factory as a supervisor and was on course for a promotion after the company’s restructuring exercise.  However, reporting to work on a nice Friday morning, he had the shock of his life.

His manager summoned him to his office and told him that his services were no longer needed because of severe budgetary constraints the company was facing.  Damon could not believe what he was hearing and initially thought it was a prank, but when he was later handed a pink slip, he came to terms with reality.  Beginning to sweat in his winter jacket, he locked himself up in the restroom and tried to fully digest what was happening.  He was a supervisor and thought he should have been protected under such circumstance.  It hit him so hard that he absented himself from choir practice that day.

Despite words of encouragement from relatives, friends and his church leaders, Damon was never himself.  At this stage, the devil was chipping in, whispering to him from time to time to think about what had happened to him and reject God because He had failed him.  Folks, despite God’s assurance in Hebrews 13:5 that he will never leave nor forsake His children, we still find it tricky when facing trials or tribulations because the devil always exploits such low moments to confuse our minds.  Damon was still brooding about his situation in his house one day when he got a phone call from one of his friends, informing him that the sugar factory was on fire and several employees on the same floor that he used to be, were trapped in the blaze.  Shaking his head in disbelief, he sprang from his bed, threw himself on the carpeted floor and wept.  “Lord, let me understand your works, let me know who you are,” he cried out.

God pulled him out of a looming catastrophe; a vindication of what James said in 1:2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Nobody would want to rejoice under trials because they are painful.  If it is a debilitating disease, it is a matter of life and death; if it is a financial burden or joblessness, it could be stressful, but its demonstration shows how ‘patience’ remains prominent as one of the fruits of the Spirit.  Damon’s faith was threatened by the loss of his job and was perhaps wondering why he called himself a child of God, but eventually thanked God for saving his life and turning his trial into triumph.

Many Christians are losing their faith because of problems they are going through and unless they have a clear understanding as to why God sometimes allow such trials, they will buckle when hit by adversity.God tells us in John 16:33 that we will have tribulation in this world, but we should be of good cheer because He has overcome the world.  The hits and bumps in this world are certainly overwhelming, but we have a loving God who understands how our lives unfold at every turn.  He has promised not to let any fire consume us, but instead, direct its heat to refine and strengthen us.

There are people in the Bible who turned defeat into victory and trials into triumphs.  Paul wouldn’t have known the joy of the Lord if he had not experienced God’s tough love.  Joseph would not have reached the level he attained if he had not been sold into slavery and Daniel, Shadrach and Abednego would not have experienced God’s saving power had they not been thrown into the lions’ den.  These people had absolute faith in the Lord, placed their trust in him and God never failed them.  Since trials are inevitable, we must cultivate a positive attitude toward the experience because our perception of these trials will influence how they impact us.

As a man of God once said, “You should learn to look beyond the present pain of trials to the final product they are designed by God to produce.  Then you have an eternal perspective, and not just a temporal one.  It is love for God which enables us to rest confidently in Him as we undergo trials.”  We say God is good because we are sustained though His grace.  If we yield our lives to Him, He expects us to sit back and watch how He controls it.  That control certainly may not be easy, but we would be assured that no matter how harsh life treats us, God will find a way for us to pull through.

Dr. Danso is a contributing opinion writer and the Elder of Immaculate Church of Christ at Baychester in the Bronx.

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