Why is it that when you have an especially tight deadline for a church communication project that the printer jams and the church phone won’t stop ringing?
We seldom have the time or the perfect setting in which to create our church communications, but in our podcast today I hope I’ll help you see how God has a purpose in whatever challenges you face.
Below is the podcast and below the podcast is a copy of the devotion.
Devotion #7: Difficulties and testing are as much a part of God's plan as blessings
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deut. 7:13)
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. (Matt. 4:1)
These are difficult words. We like to focus on God’s promises of provision and joy in our lives. To be reminded that difficulties and testing are also allowed by our God—we’d rather not think about that option.
But difficulties are a part of life, especially a life spent working on church communications. The world of computer-created communication will never stop changing; it will never become less complex and demanding. Temptations to despair, frustration, and anger are part of our work.
Sometimes the team of people we work with doesn’t make our load lighter, but heavier. Sometimes we can’t explain why we aren’t able to produce what they want and we don’t know how to fix the problems. Sometimes we are shocked by the anger and resentment that wells up in response to what we consider an unreasonable demand.
At those times, these verses can comfort us because even our troubles have a good purpose. We never know how strong a rope is until a weight is hung from it. We never know how genuine our trust in God is until it’s tested in the daily grind of projects and deadlines. We might assume we rely on God in every area of our lives, but until we absolutely cannot handle a technology or communication team issue without Him, we may not realize how we have left this part of our life out of His guidance and control.
In the same way that we can’t correct a problem in a manuscript until we see it, it is hard to grow in our faith until we are aware of our shortcomings. So our Lord allows the testing to come, often in the midst of our work for him, so we can learn and grow. If we haven’t taken time to learn the skills we need, a technological challenge might force us to learn a skill we have put off learning. If we don’t see the sin that lingers in our souls, we aren’t challenged to grow in our Christian life so that we can respond with gentleness and kind words under pressure.
Not only will our growth benefit us, but we can be an encouragement to others and remind them that God cares just as much about helping us create an effective newsletter with the computer or other church communication team tasks, as He does about helping us teach a Bible lesson effectively.
The context of these verses also gives us hope. Neither Jesus or the children of Israel stayed in the desert of tempting. Jesus came out of the desert into a life of ministry. The children of Israel went into the promised land.
Our trials serve the same purpose. We aren’t destined to stay in them, but to learn from them to be better equipped for the communication ministry our Lord has given us.
From: Devotions for Church Communicators by Yvon Prehn