The question for this devotional is: Does tragedy increase intimacy with Christ? Can our struggles bring us closer or drive us further away from God. So let’s dig in and find out my thoughts? We will start by looking at the Bible.
James 1:2-4 (NIV); “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Intimacy Without Tragedy?
I think most of us realize that God does not promise us a rose garden when we follow Him. But why does James want us to find joy in our trials, as stated in the verses above? James goes on to explain that trials produce perseverance, which helps us mature in our faith. We may understand the theory behind these words. But what does this concept look like in real life, and how does it change our theology?
Before we dig into life with trials, let’s look at our lives during the good times. Think back to a time before COVID came to our country. Restaurants opened regular schedules, and unemployment rates remained low. We could buy toilet paper and Clorox wipes without limits. And, we attended church in person with live music and singing. During such days, many of us didn’t lose our faith, but we might forget God. Moses warned of getting too comfortable in the following verses:
Deuteronomy 8 (NIV); “11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Tragedy Leads to Intimacy?
Trials make us more aware of our need for Christ. In desperate times, we pour out our hearts to the Lord. And then we wait and watch for His hand to move. For me, these are the times I am more aware of the nearness of Christ. His presence comforts me, and I find His peace keeps me moving forward. As the pandemic spread, my heart filled with fear for the future, so I sought God. I prayed more often and searched the Bible for His comfort. And God did not disappoint me. James understands this, too, as he penned these words in James 4:8 (NIV); “Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
In My Life
As I look back over the trials of my life, I see how through them, my intimacy with God deepened. I sought Him, and God moved closer to me. And, I learned I could trust Him to be with me in all circumstances. So, as the good times return after a trial, I remember to thank God. I appreciate all He provides because I know it could all disappear again tomorrow. Another way problems deepen my faith is through sharing how God provided with others. Paul reminds of this fact in 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV); “who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Now, I can understand why James calls us to be joyful in affliction. Difficult times will increase our intimacy with God if we seek Him for help.
In Your Life:
Do you think difficult times increase or decrease your intimacy with God and why? What Bible verses do you rely on when troubles arise in life? How can you share your stories with others to encourage them?
Recommendations for Future Study:
Are you looking for a new Bible study to help you during these difficult times? I think my new book might help you. Finding Faith, Hope, And Love in A Broken World look at how our faith, hope, and love can be a beacon shining in the darkness that guides others safely to shore. The book is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Faith-Hope-Broken-World/dp/B08T43TVBZ.
Are you looking for more inspiration on how to find God in the ordinary events of life? Please check out my blog at https://morgantravelblog.wpcomstaging.com/.
You will find my Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/ymmauthor
Here is the link to my website: https://yvonne-morgan.com/
My dear heavenly Father. Thank you for the many blessings You give me daily. Help me to learn to appreciate the good times and the bad times in my life. Help me to seek intimacy with you more when the troubles hit. You are my rock and my salvation, and I will seek You allows. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Do you need prayer? I would love to pray for you. Submit your prayer request on my website at https://yvonne-morgan.com/submit-your-prayer-request-here/
Grace and Peace to you,
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian #author, #blogger, and #speaker. #BibleGatewayPartner
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”