North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson

Probably the questions I hear the most from my clients, soldiers, and church members are: “Why did God let this happen?  And “Why do I have to go through this?” Any many times they follow up by saying, “I’m tired and I just don’t know how much more I can take.” I will readily admit I can’t always give them a definitive, all-inclusive answer. In fact, no one can. For the things God allows to affect us sometimes are unexplainable. More than once, the Bible speaks of God’s ways: “My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9); “God’s plan looks foolish to men, but it’s wiser than the best plans of men” (1 Cor. 1:25). But this one thing I do know, God cares and loves us greater than we can comprehend (John 3:16). We live in trying times and there is no end to the evil that pervades society. Thank God for the hope we have in Him to help us finish our life of faith. The trials and tribulations we face originate from many areas of our life: work schedules, school activities and homework, family issues, expectations from others, physical illnesses, diseases, and death itself. All of which tries us to the very core of our being.

An old preacher was dying and he sent a message for his IRS agent and his lawyer (both church members), to come to his home. When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room, the preacher held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The preacher grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled and stared at the ceiling. For a time no one said anything. Both the IRS agent and lawyer were touched and flattered that the old preacher would ask them to be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled because the preacher had never given any indication that he particularly liked either one of them. In fact they had tried and tested him on several occasions and gave him unnecessary grief. Finally, the lawyer asked, “Preacher, why did you ask the two of us to come?” The old preacher mustered up some strength, then said weakly, “Jesus died between two thieves, and that’s how I want to go too.

Even in light of your emotional and physical struggles—God cares for you. And He will prove Himself and help you if you don’t give up. The apostle Peter explains in God’s Word the true value of the             T-E-S-T-S that try Christian’s faith. Read what he says in 1 Peter 1:6-7: “With this hope you can be happy, even if you have sorrow and all kinds of tests for a while. These tests have come to prove your faith and to show that it is good. Gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire. Your faith is worth much more than gold and it must be tested also. Then your faith will bring thanks and shining greatness and honor to Jesus Christ when he comes again.”

A decision I made some time ago was to never diminish or treat lightly the struggles and difficulties an individual might be facing; even if it’s the consequences of a wrong behavior or action on their part. We all need forgiveness and we all need help. Christians are to be compassionate like Jesus (Matt. 9:36).

Consider some of the tests that try a Christian’s faith. First, there’s Temptation. Who hasn’t been tried by this? Understand, temptation is not a sin. It comes to all of us. Yet, God is faithful and has promised to make a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). Christ himself was tempted like we are. Even though he never caved to temptation, he certainly understands what you are going through and helps those who pray, trust, and obey. James 1:12 says, “The person who does not give up when tests (temptations) come, is happy. After the test is over, he will receive the prize of life. God has promised this to those who love him.”

A second test comes from our Environment. You know it’s the Christians duty to love and serve when and where opportunity affords. It’s frustrating to try to help someone and give them truth and favor only to have them reject you and the good you intend to provide. Mark 13:58 says, “He did not do many powerful works there because they did not put their trust in Him.” Do your best and leave the results to God.

A third test is Setbacks. These are common to us all. However it may cause some to ask, “Why should this happen to me?” My response is found in the principle of Romans 8:28. We must never forget that it is the “working together” that counts; the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet. God uses it all as a divine recipe to bring Him glory and you blessings. But you mustn’t give up and this is the key. Get alone with God. Call out to Him and pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). The right outcome is dependent on your faithfulness in seeking God.

A fourth test is Triumph. Success can even try a person’s faith; because their motives are sometimes misjudged if they’re successful. In your triumphs and success remain humble in spirit and filled with God’s love. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Don’t let success push you in a direction farther than God intends for you to go.

The fifth test is Service. Someone devoted to ministry and service is not immune to the tests of faith. A person is often tested when he or she does service for God. The trial often comes from non-serving Christians. The reason could be jealousy, bitterness, unforgiveness, or any number of things. However, you must be faithful to serve with love and kindness. Why not give up because of someone’s harassment or ill-will towards you? —Because of Galatians 6:9, “Don’t let yourselves get tired of doing good. If you don’t give up, you will get rewarded at the right time.” If there is one thing you must do when your faith is tested, it’s to believe that God cares and H’sinterested in you. He has made the world and your own mind and body so that it may work together to pass the T-E-S-T-S of life.

This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Dec 16 2012. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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