I was reading another chapter in How People Change this afternoon which made me think. One of the statements the book makes is that trials can be blessings as well as difficulties, it just stopped me and made me think. We assume that trials will readily be recognisable as such - physical suffering, unemployment, bereavement, the dashing of hopes etc... But what about when we get that promotion, or that pay rise and the challenge, or trial is about what we will now live for, or what we will do with our greater pot of money, or when we are in the relationship we have always longed and dreamed of - will we serve God through it, or will it challenge God's place in our life. Or when the area of ministry we are involved in is blessed we can struggle with pride. It is helpful to ask the question what blessings am I enjoying and am I responding rightly to them.
There was another line that caught my attention too: "Trials do not cause us to be what we have not been; rather, they reveal what we have been all along." Why? because a trial reveals my heart and the sin that I need to root out in it, the wrong expectations that still lurk their. When I am struck by a sudden illness my reaction will reveal how much I trust in God or myself, or how much I believe that suffering is normal or how mistakenly I've been sucked into believing believers should be immune.
'How People Change' is proving to be a very challenging read, but one which I pray will carry out the necessary surgery on my heart as it points me again and again to God's word and to my Saviour.