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The Christians trials. too. are monitored! They are monitored by a loving God - our Father in heaven - who envisages an exciting future for each of His sons and daughters. Monitored by Him to ensure, as much as may be in His power, that we receive “a perfect inheritance beyond the reach of change and decay” (1 Peter 1:4).

And, the apostle adds, “In the meantime you are guarded by the power of God operating through your faith till you enter fully into salvation” (verse 5).

To better fit us for this salvation. for our responsibilities in the Kingdom of God, He uses experience - carefully monitored experience - as part of our training program. Every circumstance of the Christian’s life is under the benign scrutiny of a loving heavenly Father. Spoke the prophet Hanani, “The eyes of the Lord range through the whole earth, to bring aid and comfort to all those whose hearts are loyal to him” (11 Chronicles 16:9).

No Escape If there is a drought, the Christian thirsts. Our home, along with those of our neighbors, may disintegrate to match wood under the hammer blow of a tornado or “quake.” If there is food shortage, or war, or mass unemployment, the Christian suffers with his neighbor.

But there is a difference!

Should the “camera image” from a Christian reflect a circumstance that’s overwhelming for him in his spiritual life, God provides a way out. To again quote Paul: “...But when the test comes He will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it” (I Corinthians 10:13).

Notice. The Christian doesn’t always escape the catastrophe or the illness or the general economic depression or whatever. But he is given the inner spiritual strength to see it through.

Grace to Help Look again at the example of the apostle Paul. “I was given a sharp pain in my body,” he says: “...Three times I begged the Lord to rid me of it, but His answer was: ‘My grace is all you need; power comes to its full strength in weaknesses” (I Corinthians 12:7-9).

Expect From God? God’s grace sustained him in his trial!

Paul drew upon the inexhaustible supply of spiritual strength available to him through his relationship with Jesus. By faith he trusted God to sustain him.

Are you, then, suffering privation. or bereavement, or persistent illness, or torturing pain? Are the pressures of life burdening you? Do you feel the prisoner of circumstance? Do you feel unable to cope with your lot?

Whatever oppresses you, as a Christian - a member of the very Family of God - remember that you are different from others! God knows your problem. And He will take care of you.

Wrote the apostle Peter to a group of Christians undergoing severe trials: “Humble yourselves then under God’s mighty hand, and He will lift you up in due time. Cast all your cares upon him, for you are His charge” (1 Peter 5:6, 7). As the King James version puts it “...for he cares for you”.

Individual Christians with severe disability have (perhaps over many, many years) proved this truth. Despite agonizing pain, or despite severe paralysis, they have experienced Jesus’ power to sustain them in radiance.

And what a witness they are of the power of God!

Of course, this doesn’t mean that God does not heal in this day and age. He does - and mightily! Out of His deep mercy and in response to childlike trust He often intervenes to deliver from sickness or distress.

But. whatever God’s apparent response, the Christian knows with certainty that “underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). He responds to the invitation of Jesus: “Come to me. all whose work is hard, whose load is heavy; and I will give you relief. Bend your necks to my yoke, and learn from me, for I am gentle and huniblehearted: and your souls will find relief. For my yoke is good to bear, my load is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

God’s Legacy What, then, should the Christian expect from God?

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