As Christians who are redeemed and saved, we have experienced God's power and have seen Him answer the ultimate prayer for eternal life. Yet, there are times when pessimism can easily rob us of the joy of seeing Him work through the obstacles in our lives. When we face relationship challenges, it is very easy to lose focus of the sufficiency of Christ and trust that He knows the higher purpose of any emotional turmoil we face. Nothing tests us more than trouble in our most intimate relationships, primarily because many people place those important relationships as the foundation of their lives instead of Christ.
One way to find out if Christ is truly the center of your life is to experience a major challenge in your closest relationships. God already knows the answer ... the trial comes to open our eyes to the reality of our priorities. And many times it is not what we had claimed in our minds and hearts. The natural human response to trials is not rejoicing, therefore the believer must make a conscious commitment to face them with joy. God brings such tests in life to prove and increase the strength and quality of one's faith and to demonstrate its validity.
Every trial becomes a test of faith designed to strengthen: if the believer fails the test by wrongly responding, that test then becomes a temptation to not trust in the Lord. Through tests, a Christian will learn to withstand tenaciously the pressure of a trial until God removes it at his appointed time - and even cherish the benefit. When a committed relationship or a marriage is in turmoil over such things as work related stresses, communication break downs or child raising issues the real temptation is to rush through the trial and get on the other side of it to peace and harmony. The prayer should be for a Christian is to carefully consider what the Lord wants you to learn and what part of your character needs development and refinement.
The truth is that life is one huge trial ... we are either coming out, going in or in the middle of one challenge or another with varying intensities. The testing of faith drives believers to deeper communion and greater trust in Christ, qualities that in turn produce a stable, godly and righteous character. God intends that trials will drive believers to greater dependency on him, by showing them their own inadequacy. It is our attitude that defines the success of any particular trial.
Many times in the lull before another life challenge, we become enamored with external worldly things that really have no eternal value. Trials keep us from becoming preoccupied with earthly things. Every difficult circumstance that enters a believer's life can either strengthen him if he obeys God and remains confident in his care, or becomes a solicitation to evil if the believer chooses instead to doubt God and disobey his word. The battle is to mentally, emotionally and spiritually rest in the comfort that the Lord always knows what is happening and why - and that the test is for our ultimate benefit even though it life looks bleak and dim for the moment.
God purposes trials to occur and in them he allows temptation to happen, but he has promised not to allow more than believers can endure and never without a way to escape. Christians can glory in tribulations because He allows all things to work together for good to those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.
Nancy Pina is a licensed Christian counselor with over 25 years experience helping her clients achieve their relationship, marriage and family goals based on a biblical foundation of scripture.
If you are facing a relationship challenge, please schedule an appointment today so Nancy can help you work through those obstacles.