Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Refining Fire of a Trial

"Do you ever feel like we don't ever go through difficult trials?" These words came from my lips as my wife and I drove to work one day recently. Well, in Suzie's premature birth God in His infinite wisdom has decided to put us through the refining fire of a trial. The following are a few lessons from Scripture that have been learned or reinforced in walking through this trial with our Lord.

  • God does not promise a comfortable and smooth life on earth. He does however promise eternal life with Him for those who are willing to forsake their sin and turn to Christ in faith. John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies..."
  • Our faith is not based on life's circumstances, but on God's character. This includes:
    • His Wisdom - Psalm 139:4, "Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, you know it all.
    • His Love - Psalm 139:8, "The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness."
    • His Sovereignty - Eph 1:11,"...who works all things after the counsel of His will..."
  • Our assurance of salvation has increased. God has presented us with a test, a trial. How authentic is our faith in Him? Are we willing to deny ourselves and follow Him no matter what happens? Many people stopped following Jesus when they realized the sacrifice it was to be a true believer. He then turned to His 12 disciples and asked, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Peter responded by saying, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life." We echo the statement made by Peter. God is our rock, our refuge, our strength. He is our heavenly Father. God has mercifully forgiven us of our sins by the blood of His precious Son. We will escape the peril of God's judgment in hell. How could we ever turn aside? What about you? Have you committed your life to Christ? Are your sins forgiven?
  • Joy and courage are expressed in spite of sorrow and fear, not instead of. We are human and have normal expressions of emotion towards our beloved Suzie. But because of our eternal hope in Christ, the Spirit gives us joy and courage in God.
  • God is able to answer our prayers either "yes" or "no." How many parents out there have ever said no to a request made by their child? Of course you have. Many people mistakenly believe that if someone isn't healed after prayer, then God didn't listen to that prayer. On the contrary, He heard the prayer but simply in His wisdom said no.
  • God works in His providence. Providence can be described as God's special working in the lives of believers. There is no such thing as a mere circumstance. We have seen God's "invisible hand" at work numerous times with this situation. For instance, before Suzie was born, Steph noticed that the baby wasn't moving much. The day before Suzie's birth, Steph decided to not call the doctor, thinking that we were concerned about nothing. Well, the doctor's office actually called her to let her know that a previous test had come in, and when Steph mentioned the baby not moving, they had her come in to monitor Suzie. Rom 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
  • We are loved. We are so grateful for all of the family and friends who have been comforting and encouraging us during this time. There have been many visits, phone calls, words of encouragement, exhortation of Scripture, financial gifts, food and meals, and more graciously given to us. Thank you so much!
Stay tuned, and keep praying!


The Bird Nest said...

Amen and amen!
Praying that His grace will be sufficient for you today, as He has already promised.

Heidi Shafer said...

I love love love your thoughts and words of encouragement of what the Lord is confirming to be true and growing your faith as well as teaching you both during this time. I have often wondered the same thing... I don't feel like I have had all that many trials in my life, especially recently and yet, I know the Word to be true that trials are a sure thing in this life. I just pray that my faith and testimony echo the same as yours. Keepig you and Suzie in my prayers.


Rick said...


This is a marvelous expression of your love of Christ, your confidence in Him, as well as your loving leadership of Stephanie. You are a great blessing to my daughter and to us. I know with certainty that God will use this for His glory, in ways we do not yet see.

We continue to pray with you and for you.


Julie Gebhards said...

I love you guys! I want to come and visit this week. I have been out of town, but have been praying for you and thinking of you every day. You are such a blessing, and little Suzie is adorable! Steph, I'll call you soon!

Dave and Suzanne said...

We are so encouraged and exhorted by your example during this trial. God is faithful regardless of circumstances. We pray for you daily and it is our privilege to continue to do so. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you guys, big or small. We are here if you need us.

Suz and Dave and the boys (who love to pray for Suzie daily, by the way).

Michelle said...

Kyle and Stephanie,
Your walk of faith is inspirational! Christ is using you even as you walk through this fire. We love y'all and cry with you from Texas. We look forward of hearing about Suzie's little miracles each day and will check back frequently! Sending large hugs!
Michelle, Grant, C & C