by Ismael Dubal (35th Batch)
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future. Ecclesiastes 7: 14 (NIV)
I became a missionary not by my own will but by God’s leading. I left my previous job that I enjoyed for two and a half years for the reason of wanting to have a better future. I grabbed another job opportunity with a 99% assurance that I would surely be accepted. An employer was waiting. Airfare and house accommodation was set and prepared without spending any cost. The work was waiting for me and everything seemed as if it was ironed out and well prepared. But God used that plan and ambition to pursue His plan for me. He did not let me pass the interview for a very important reason that I only understood after more than a year. The country that I was supposed to go to was hit by a tidal wave including the place where I was supposed to work in. God is really good. He did not let me go to that country but sent me to another country to do His work and to keep me safe.
Now that I’m doing His work in the place where He sent me, I thought that I’m already safe from any problem or hard situation. But I was mistaken. I had experienced many problems. Some are subtle and hard to recognize and some are somewhat beyond my ability to endure. I cried many tears and during those times I thought I would prefer to vanish and feel nothing. It seemed that the world had put a heavy weight on my shoulder and I couldn’t bear it. But God guarded me at each stage of my journey. He was sheltering me and protecting me at every moment. He always found ways of escape for me so that I can bear it.
God is never going to let us face difficult experiences which are beyond our ability to stand. He just allowed all those things for the development of our spiritual endurance. John MacArthur said in his article Trials Make Us Grow: “We are never going to become spiritually mature unless we develop endurance, and we can only develop endurance as we persevere in faith through painful experiences.”
James 1:2-4 also added: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Not everything that happens in our lives is good. Life is full of vicissitudes. All the contingencies, all the choices, all things–good, bad and indifferent–all these happen with a reason and purpose. We might not see this purpose right at that moment, but time will tell. God is working through all the issues of our present lives to teach us lessons and to develop our patience and spiritual endurance. As we become stronger, we will be less likely to give in to difficult experiences and less likely to waver in our faith.