What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31 NKJV
As humans we are quite easily confused. Stalin became terribly paranoid later in his horrific reign. He suspected everyone of trying to steal his position. When he finally did decide to trust another world leader he chose Hitler, who promptly betrayed that trust. We are easily duped into misinterpreting reality. We mistake our foes for our allies and vice-versa. The Scripture declares that, if we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ the Lord is always our ally. When we walk well and when we fall. He is FOR us. He doesn't want to see us punished or "payed out" (He already punished His Son in our place). He wants to see us turn and rest in what He has already done for us. His goal is to conform us to image of His Son, Jesus Christ, and He will not fail in that goal. When we fail He isn't wagging His finger at us, nor shaking His head. He is holding out His hand. Offering the life of Christ as our provision for every need if we would but trust Him.
That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Sensationalism is the message of our society. Gadgets, food and drink are advertised by promising an experience that "out of this world." Movies and television seek to wow us constantly to keep our attention. Gossip magazines keep us abreast to the most intimate details (true and false) of the "great people" in entertainment and politics. If we buy into the world system we may believe that success is measured in such ways. Yet success is quite different from God's perspective. While we are impressed by the affairs of those we think of as "great" our Lord values something else entirely. A simple life, honest work, one that loves others with the love of Jesus Christ. This is valuable, wonderful. This is what would make the front page in Heaven's Daily Gazette.
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Philippians 1:21
Fear is one of the most destructive influences on our lives. Fear is rooted in faithlessness, in a lack of trust in the character or ability of our loving Father God. The Lord would have us live a life that is fears nothing on earth. Neither men, nor need, nor government or death. The secret of this fearlessness is keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Christ in whom we are permanently positioned. With our eyes on Him we grow to understand how we can live beyond the limitations of fear.
You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.
Gal 4:13 NKJV
A good mystery is tough to beat. It is easy to look at the verse above and get stuck in the question, "What was Paul's physical infirmity?" Rather than concern ourselves too heavily with the unclear parts of Scripture, we have the opportunity to concern ourselves with what is incredibly clear. Paul had some physical pain or difficulty that was certainly an inconvenience to him. God, however, had a plan for that difficulty. God's plan included the gospel going out to people who were ready to hear it. God's plan also included those people giving the occasion for one of the most important letters ever written (the Letter to the Galatians). That's what the Lord did through Paul's infirmity. What will He do through yours?
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, thought it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7 NKJV
I have always hated timed tests. My palms and forehead sweating, chest constricted just waiting for the teachers mark to turn over the paper and complete the test in time. Ever since then the idea of someone "testing" me was not something that I appreciated. Yet we are told that God tests our faith in 1 Peter 1. Look closer, God tests our faith as a goldsmith tests gold. That process is interesting. The goldsmith buys gold hoping that it is pure, that he can approve all of it as useful. He heats the gold to the melting point and the impurities rise to the top as "dross" which is scraped off and discarded. This is the picture of how God "tests" our faith: with a view to approval, that we may be useful to Him. He is not looking to "fail " us, but rather to use us as tools for His own glory. This is a description of every trial you will ever have.