Though Trials Will Come

carried-through-the-trials-of-faith

My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy. After all, you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4, Common English Bible).

I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity C.S. Lewis.

Today, I write for me. I hope you get something from it too, but I write for me. You see, I have a trial coming up this week. I am not going into the nature of my trials, but, for me it will be a trial. It is something I have experienced before. Just because I know what is coming, it doesn’t settle the apprehensions I have.

Trials are an inevitable part of life. No one ever promised life would be easy. No one said life would be easy. Difficulties will happen, for all of us.

For many, there is a thought that when we become Christian, the trials and difficulties of life will go away. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the things we may have included in our lives without thinking about them become huge temptations. Things we did without thinking become issues requiring a great deal more thought.

When the trials do come, we are tempted to ask, “Why me, Lord?” I had a church member many years ago who fought a long battle with cancer. He would ask, “Why me?” until one day the thought occurred to him, “Why not me? What makes me so special that I shouldn’t have to go through this?” He also said that in that moment of clarity that he could be a witness to God’s goodness, even during the most difficult times life presents to us. And, that he was. I will never forget Don or his courageous witness. Cancer may have won the battle, but faith won the war.

In my days ahead this week I need to remember Don and his witness. What I face, though unpleasant to me, is nothing by comparison. I need to remember James’ words to look at this trial as an occasion for joy. Once completed, I will be stronger for having done it.

C.S. Lewis’ words also come to mind. It is not God’s function to take away all in life that makes me uncomfortable just because of my faith. I need to remember to allow God the room to use the event to strengthen my faith.

I also need to remember the words of my favorite hymn.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

This day, it is well, it is well with my soul. Further, when all is said, done and over with this week, it will be well once again. It will be well with my soul.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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