I spotted a sign in a local store the other day that said, "The will of God will not take you where the grace of God will not protect you." While there is great truth and inspiration in these words, they can be difficult to apply when we are taken into a very difficult situation. These words are easy to share with some one who is living through a tough situation, in an effort to comfort and strengthen them, but they are difficult to understand when we are the one going through the trial. I think part of the reason behind our difficulty with these words is that we often ask for the wrong thing when faced with a personal trial. When faced with a difficult life experience, most of us cry out to God for deliverance. There is nothing wrong with that plea, but it is not always what God has in mind, therefore He does not deliver us. The apostle Paul was arrested numerous times. He spent many nights in a prison cell that we would consider horrible circumstances. Yet Paul never asked his fellow Christians to pray for his deliverance from these life threatening situations. Instead, he asked that people pray that God would give him the boldness to be a witness to the saving grace of Christ when he was scheduled to appear before rulers that had the authority to condemn to death. Paul knew that his appearance before these rulers was probably going to be the only time that they would ever hear the truth that is in the Gospel and he did not want to be the one to shrink from the opportunity to confront them with the truth of salvation through Christ alone.
Every difficult situation that we find ourselves in is an opportunity to be a witness to the presence of Christ in our lives. If we find ourselves confronted with an illness, we are a witness to those around us that to live is Christ and to die is gain. This world is but a temporary home and our final reward is to spend an eternity with our Savior. When we lose a loved one, we are a witness to those around us that death has no victory over the believer. While we may mourn the loss of the departed, we can celebrate their victory over death and rejoice in the knowledge that their race is over and they can rest in that place that God has prepared for His children. Regardless of our circumstances, our relationship with our Savior is a testimony to those around us, and is the only time some of them will ever be confronted with the truth of salvation through Christ alone. The next time I find myself in one of life's difficult trials, I have to remind myself that deliverance may not be God's plan for me. God may want to walk with me through the tribulation in order that my faith and trust in Him will grow stronger, and my love for Him will grow deeper. All the while, my relationship with Christ will be a witness to those around me and hopefully point them to a knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Regardless of what I am asked to endure may I always, "Parise You in This Storm."