Temptation of Life and Its Benefit
By Archdeacon Habib Guirgus
Our whole life is full of trials, pain and temptations, for we are sojourners and strangers in the place of our exile, thus, it is not surprising if we are afflicted with many trials, and hardships in this valley of pain and misery.
You see, my
beloved, we are not safe from a trial before we fall into another, and we
barely remedy a wound when another bleeds.
We scarcely try to lift our heads till another wave hits us to drag us down to the depth.
All these calamities have bended our backs and lowered our heads.
Who of the people have fled trials and temptations even kings and rulers who sat on their thrones? None of us or any person.
Although none will flee from any of these, yet the saints are weighed heavily in that. The apostle Paul said "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Philippians 1:29).
"We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
It is a good medicine and a beneficial remedy to be in various trials, so we can request eternity. Hardship is a smart teacher, for it teaches manners and wisdom, humbleness, despising oneself, politeness, control of lusts and desires, straightening our thoughts and minds in line, and being a solid ground for firmness. It also teaches the boastful to become meek, the angry to be calm, the doubtful to be trustful, the aggressive to be tranquil, and the disobedient to return to God.
Hardships and trials pluck out from us pride and wander. It also protects us from boastfulness and vainglory, and makes us realize the need for the Lord and His help. It is imminent to know that there is no peace or security on this earth, and then we realize how weak we are.
Trials train us to acquire virtues, and make us alert so we do not go into deep sleep.
It purifies and disciplines, it clarifies and cleanses, and without it, it would have been hard to know ourselves, thus, boasting in our strengths, and believed that we are something. It grants us to seek the Lord, and prostrate before Him. The apostle Paul said; "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure" (II Corinthians 12:7).
"Happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole" (Job 5:17, 18).
"For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son whom he delights" (Proverbs 3:12).
It was known that when the Israelites used to go into a hardship and temptation, they used to cling onto the Lord, and head to Him through prayers and supplications, and when they are in tranquility and success, they forget Him or separate themselves from Him!
When David, the prophet and king, was in joy and happiness, fell in sin, but in his trial he said; "In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord" (Psalm 77:2), and the smart son (the prodigal son) returned to his father's home after falling and knew himself. Isaiah the prophet said; "Lord, in trouble they have visited You; they poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them" (Isaiah 26:16).
"When He slew them, then they sought Him; and they returned and sought diligently for God" (Psalm 78:34).
The branches of the vine do not grow and show green leaves and fruits unless it is pruned. Same with the strings of the harp, it does not give a nice sound unless it is pulled very well and is hit by the fingers! Also the sweet aroma is not smelled unless it is burned by fire, and the true gold, and the diamond has to be cut and shaped, and the seed has to be hit and ground before entering as a dough in the fire.
Such with all the saints and righteous who walked down this path. Those who inherited heaven and are enjoying Paradise now in glory, followed the same path.
Your Lord and Savior was tempted in many ways and was in many trials, and was known as "He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3), so do not reject the trial when it comes, and do not be restless when it agonizes you, but rather, lift your case to God and ask for His will to be done, and let Him deal with you according to His goodness, and equip yourself to endure the trial and/or temptation, and consider it the greatest comfort for you in this life.
When you love God truly, you'll accept the trials with joy, as if you were expecting it. Who cannot accept from the hands of the compassionate God all what He allows?
If you did so, hardships and trials will be easy and sweet, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (James 1:2, 3).
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Roman 8:18).
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