So many people fall away from faith when their expectations of God are not met or when life get’s too hard. They feel like God has left them or that his commands are too restrictive. Trials and trouble are not going anywhere, so it’s best for you to know that they are going to continue to shape you, even (read that as especially) in a church environment.
Although most of the examples of trials and trouble in the New Testament focus on persecution, and you might experience some of this, not to the extent that the early church did, yet. Trials and troubles, in addition to things like death, sickness, relationship or family problems, don’t stop just because you are doing God’s work, in fact it, troubles and trials only increase at the hands of other “believers”.
Sinners have never treated me as poorly as believers have. Yes, I’ve been mocked but sinners have never tried to make my life miserable the way “christians” have.
These trials and tribulation are the fire the Blacksmith lays us in, to heat us up, to make us malleable under the Hammer of the Blacksmith. Without fire there is no change. There is no character development in scripture with out the trial.
Without the fire of the whale, there is no Jonah
Without the fire of betrayal, slavery and imprisonment there is no Joseph.
Without murder and the 40 years in the wilderness there is no Moses.
Without the fire there is no you.
Without fire there is no me.
I remember most every harsh word and incident that has happened to me in the church. They have heated my heart up where God could shape me. I wish I could be shaped without the fire, but change cannot happen without it.
So, what kind of fire are you in right now? Is a parent giving you hard time? Are you having trouble attracting students? Is your pastor being a jerk? This is the fire of youth work and you must enter it and endure it, for a season, so God can shape you for what’s next, your purpose. Not success, but the work that He has prepared in advance for us to do.
If you don’t understand the purpose in the fire of everyday troubles or the troubles of ministry, how will you know how to handle the fire for following Jesus?
Understanding “the fire”, and the God behind it, is the beginning of wisdom.
Think about the trials you are going through as a youth worker, are they driving you to be shaped by God or driving your heart to bitterness and harness?
Go through the fire knowing that God is at work in the fire with you, just like He was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abendigo. God is not done with you. He is using the fire to drive you into his arms to be shaped by him because he loves you.
Once you’ve processed the trouble and trials in your life and see how they’re shaping you; grab the first lesson of my four week series, The Process.