Bitter Benefit :: By Edwin Tan


Not many pulpits would choose the following passages of Holy Writ for a Sunday sermon. Would those sitting in the pews stomach this seemingly hard dosage of spiritual fact? This might be the case years ago, but in the face of worsening times as we speak – could James 1:2-4 receive a fresh new look?

Easy to understand but somewhat difficult to chew. It reads in the following manner:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

In the light of present-day realities, which is really harder to swallow? Simply allowing the ravages of the seemingly, never-ending pandemic to dominate one’s life while clinging forlornly to the diminishing prospect of things going back to what it was – quite a multitude would go for this option. However, the Great Reset that foreshadows Agenda 2030 is no longer paperback fiction. The stage setting is going on at a frenetic pace, looking menacingly ahead of schedule. There is a lot of pain along the way, more like what would have themed numerous nightmares – except that it is exploding before so many eyes!

As the darkening path towards the inevitable becomes harder each day, would it not be prudent for one to stand up against the tide? Certainly not by escapism in the form of fables from the flesh alongside earthly hocus pocus! That is why the Living Word contained the above-said passages to equip us for surviving these days.

Can there be gladness when any one of us is under the cosh [feeling pressured or restricted]?

For the simpleton, this is an absurdity – but for one that has the Holy Spirit, it can be a mouthwatering challenge. This is when our faith in God rises to the occasion. It is much more than a tough race that puts endurance levels to the test. We could be witnessing our patience plus perseverance being stretched to the limit, almost to the point of cracking up. Having the Lord in the driving seat is the critical difference. When we call on Him in our most dire moments, He will definitely not sit back, but He will more than make up for our prevailing shortfalls. Our merciful Heavenly Father knows our innate limitations and inadequacies. The problem is our tendency to freak out when the going gets tough; we forget that He is just a prayer away. We need to stay calm while we wait for His grace and mercy to flourish in us.

“For those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

The evil one will not relent when he hurls those fiery darts at us; the bulk of it comes in the form of lies – misconceptions about what is ahead! This is when we need to focus on the Lord, even if it is in the very thick of the testing. Our patience will blossom when we take on hurdles with His strength. He will never fail us when we earnestly call on Him. It is often the case of calling it quits in a fit of inpatient throwing in the towel. It is He that enables us, giving us the power to breach the obstacle that is seemingly insurmountable.

How does the Lord’s enabling work in us and for us? Quite straightforward!

Firstly, we must trust in the Lord with all our heart, total versus partial trust in our God. Secondly, we must never lean on our own understanding. Not just knowledge through education and life experiences but more so our emotions – they can be exploited by our enemy. All these can be the summation of unwarranted fears. Lastly, we have to acknowledge Him in all (not some) of our ways, and when we do so – He will direct our moves. Do not let anything or anyone else outside our Heavenly Father have the final say; that can only be cause for much grief and sorrow (Proverbs 3:5-6 elaborated).

There is beauty when an obstacle is breached. It is like reaching the summit and enjoying a panoramic view. Such is the case when one comes out of a string of hurdles triumphant. Surely more than a sigh of relief when there is that awareness that the enabling through the Holy Spirit is a joyous reality. From this, we have a rock-solid reference point that enables us to take on further challenges. The reference point is through the anointing of the Holy Spirit and taught by the Living Word!

Our remaining days as the Bride waiting to be snatched away are by no means easy. But when we are prepared to take the hardest examination of our faith in the Lord, we truly are fully equipped for the Good Fight and therefore are lacking in nothing.

Yours in Christ


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