Grandes lignes: Question asks where hardships come from and why. Answer discusses various aspects: Satan's attempts; God using them to test and train us; God's ability to turn all to good; we are strengthened through tests and faith grows. God's promise that no trials will be too great for us if we trust Him. Invitation.
Numéro de texte: 217
Thème: Problems, troubles, worries; Faith, trust, believe in Jesus; Satan (the devil)
Genre: Messages and Fiction
Citation biblique: Paraphrase
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1. Where do hardships come from, and why do people have them?
2. Sometimes we act foolishly and hardships come because we are not wise, but many hardships come from Satan. Satan is the one who has power to hurt people. Long ago people turned their backs on God. Instead of doing what God told them they listened to Satan and followed his advice. It was as if they voted for Satan to rule. (They chose to follow Satan).
1. Well, why does Satan bring hardships to people?
2. It is because Satan does not like God. You see, Satan was not able to defeat God, so he hates God. Because God loves people, Satan persuaded people to turn their backs on God. (That is why Satan persuades people to turn their backs on God.) For that reason they are separated from God. But God loves them and has a plan to help them. Satan wants to spoil God's plan for people. So he tries to hurt them and make hardships for them. He wants them to blame God for their trouble. He wants them to stay away from God.
1. But I don't understand. The people who do not follow Satan--they have hardships, even though they follow God. Why doesn't God stop their hardships?
2. I will explain. If we have hardships it will prove whether we truly believe in God or not. It is possible that we are just saying with our mouths that we believe in God. The manner in which we bear our hardships tells if we truly do have faith in God. If our heart does not agree with our mouth it is a sure thing we are not truly believing. God lets hardships come so that all can see if our faith is true or if it is only in our mouths.
1. I thought that hardships were bad.
2. (Sin is bad, but hardships alone are not bad unless we let them lead us away from God. When we are led away from God, then we fall into sin.) The thing that is bad about hardships is when we allow Satan to defeat us because of them. You see, it is possible for God to take our hardships and turn them into good. When we trust Him and refuse to listen to Satan, He (God) will do that. Listen to this from the Word of God: "You should be happy when you have all kinds of tests. You know these prove your faith."
1. Please explain that. Why would we be happy to have hardships?
2. This means that hardships are the things that make our faith in God bigger. They are the things that cause our faith in God to stick (grow) and be strong. So we should be happy about our hardships because that is the time we can see the power of God. And when we understand that God's power can make us strong against Satan, then we continue to grow stronger. This helps us to know that God is greater than Satan. And others will see it too. God tells us in His Word, "All things are working together for good to those who love God." That is why even the hardships that Satan makes for us cannot really hurt us if we trust God.
1. But if our hardships are great, would not our faith be defeated?
2. It is written in God's Word that God will not allow hardships greater than we can bear. Therefore when hardships come, let us trust God alone. Then we will have the help of God. And when we feel the help of God ourselves, then we will be able to help our companions who also suffer. We can tell them how God has helped us in our sufferings, and they too can be helped.
1. How can we be sure that God will help us every time?
2. God showed that He had great love for us. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to rescue us from Satan's power. Jesus came willingly and paid for our sins by dying on the cross. Thus, all who come to Him will be received by God. God says that those who come to Him for help - all those who receive Jesus as their Saviour - they are the ones He will not cast out (throw away). He will help them in hardships, and He will take them to His place of happiness when they die. You can pray to God right now. Ask Him to receive you into His family. Trust Jesus Who died for you. He will put peace in your heart.
James 1:2,3; Rom. 8:28; John 14:18; I Cor. 10:13; Hebrews 13:5