“Lord, please give me more trials. I need more trials — and I know my neighbors want some too. Please be generous and hear this prayer. We need more trials.”
I’ve never heard anyone pray that prayer. Have you? That’s also why you don’t pray for more patience. Because scripture says “Tribulation brings patience.”
No thank you, we all think. I’ve got enough problems. I don’t need more.
But do you realize the Bible is full of examples where famine, trials, hardships, battles, and even shipwrecks all served a purpose?
I recently learned that the cherry blossom trees in Washington D.C. usually have a lifespan of 60 years. But because the staff of the National Park Service prunes them, they live to be 100 years old.
I’m sure they don’t let just any junior high-age internist loose with electric hedge clippers. It’s the guy with the knowledge and experience to know exactly where to cut so the tree will benefit from the pruning.
The after effect of pruning is pretty pitiful looking. Trees and shrubs look naked and bare. But it’s not long before life returns and green is sprouting out everywhere.
My Bible reading this week has me studying the life of David. It seemed he was the only one that remembered God’s promises and was willing to attack Goliath for the sake of God’s honor. Goliath had been yelling out hateful lies about the God of Israel for 40 days! David silenced that big mouth with one sling and a rock.
Let’s put a screeching halt on the brakes. Long before Goliath, David had spent a lot of time out under the stars with his sheep and his harp. He was a dedicated musician (that meant he practiced - piano students!) But he also honed his skills with the sling when a bear and a lion tried to attack his sheep. YIKES! I would call those major trials. Wouldn’t you?
Now back to our regularly scheduled column ...
Then David was chosen by God to be the next king … but it took a while. Including 10 years of running for his life from King Saul. Can you imagine running for your life for 10 years?
I think I would have reminded God many times what He promised. “Hey God! Did you forget you told me I’d be the next king?”
Because I’m reading the chronological version this year, I get to enjoy the Psalms (songs) of David in the middle of his trials. While he was hiding in a cave he wrote Psalm 142. Verses 2-3 read, “I cry out to the Lord with my voice; With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then you knew my path. In the way in which I walk they have secretly set a snare for me.”
Today we jumped to Psalms 54 which David wrote when his hiding place had been shared with King Saul. “Save me, O God, by your name, and vindicate me by Your strength” …. Then in verse 4 he says, “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life. He will repay my enemies for their evil. Cut them off in Your truth.”
When difficult times come (and they will), just remember the Master Gardener, Jesus Christ, knows what He is doing and what we can become. David became the man “after God’s own heart.” Was he perfect? No, of course not. But God used David in mighty ways.
We celebrate the great Resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend. Not even death can keep down Jesus Christ — my Lord and Savior. Troubles? Sure, they will come. Remember Jesus is overseeing every snip of the pruning shears with His love spread all around us just waiting for the beautiful green blossoms to bud out. Someday we see the pruning was for our good and God will get the glory for every beautiful blossom.