Of Trials and Temptations (Part 1)


Richard G. Mendoza, MPH, PHD

Pr. Richard Mendoza works at the Central Luzon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. An educator and promoter of health, he complements his advocacies with spiritual and values-oriented insights.

For comments, chardgrace@yahoo.com

It is wrong to assume that when you become a Christian everything will be smooth sailing—that you will no longerhave any troubles or problems. Nothing can be farther from the truth! The Christian life is one of facing trials and problems, not running from them. It’s about overcoming temptations, not yielding to them.

Though Jesus promised to give us life to the fullest, Jesus also told us that life will include trials; “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He taught us to pray; “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13 KJV)

Robert Schuller, in his book “Tough Time Never last, Tough People Do” recommends six facts and keys when facing challenges of life:

1. Everyone has problems;
2. Everyone has a limited life span;
3. Everyone holds positive possibilities;
4. Everyone will challenge you;
5. You can choose what your problem will do for you;
6. There is a negative and positive reaction to every problem.

Now, not all problems are trials and not all challenges are temptations and it has been wrongly and dangerously taught that trials and temptations come from God. The Bible says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” (James 1:13-14 KJV)

These happen too often in our world nowadays: Tsunami’s, earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, threat of a nuclear war, epidemic disease scare, etc. Though everything happens for a reason, and some are fulfillment of prophecies, not everything should be blamed or pointed to God.

A few years ago, I remember applying for a comprehensive insurance for my car in the aftermath of the typhoon named “Ondoy”. Many homes and vehicles were flooded then and I wanted to make sure that if this happens again, I could at least lay claim to some financial benefits. I was surprised to see that my insurance included coverage on what they called “Acts of God”. Although there are verses in the Bible that states God controls nature and can cause earthquakes and floods, I don’t think He causes the natural calamities that happens, it’s more man-made I supposed, considering how we neglected to take care of our environment. I’m happy though, that the name was change later to “Acts of Nature.”

One of the greatest crises of life is human failure. Its debilitating impact can crush your soul, or it can break you heart! The choice will be up to you. Terror turns into boldness when we’re sure the Lord commands! Here’s the story of Jim Elliot and the Auca Indians in, “End of the Spear.”

“Jim Elliot always wanted to be a missionary. He grew up in a family which read the Bible daily and lived a Christian lifestyle. He went to college with his focus on those activities which would help him to be a missionary.

In 1955 Jim, along with Ed McCully, Nate Saint, Roger Youderin and Peter Fleming, 4 other missionaries, began their attempts to get to know the mysterious Auca tribe, one of the most violent tribes in the world. They decided to drop gifts to the Auca tribe from Nate Saint’s plane. Eventually, they agreed that the time was right for them to go into Auca territory. They flew in put up a base. They made initial contact with some members of the tribe and contacted the missionary post by radio to tell them that things were going well. That was the last time that contact was made.

To many people it would seem that Jim Elliot’s dream and the aspirations of the other men had ended in failure. But they had done what was expected of them and it was now time for God to continue with His plan. Amongst the personal possessions was a camera and amongst the pictures taken were some of the Auca Indians who had initially made contact with the missionaries. The people in the photographs were recognized by an exiled Auca woman who had helped the missionaries learn the language. They were relatives that she thought were dead!

She made contact with them and before long Elisabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint (Nate’s sister) were living amongst the tribe. They established a church and many of the Aucas became Christians.” (To be continued.)

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