Mind should focus on positive to transcend trials

Remember Job’s wife. That’s not exactly what Jesus said in Luke 17: 32 but it fits because Lot’s wife couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her home town and yielded to the temptation to look back (Genesis 19: 15-26).

Recently, I wrote that God doesn’t burden us with more than we can handle in regard to temptation, sin, and obedience; but, what about the trials and tribulations in life? Quite often people give up because they’ve become overwhelmed by those.

There are several sources of problems in life. All of them are based in sin – either our own or those committed by others, for if that box hadn’t been opened, man may well have lived forever without so much as breaking a sweat (Genesis 2: 8-17; 3: 1-24). As it is, we may have problems that aren’t our fault.

Even the righteous remnant in ancient Israel suffered famine, invasion, and exile because of the sin of the unrighteous. Additionally, since the church began, Christians have been persecuted and martyred because sinful men couldn’t bear the thought of a righteous God. The martyrs, on the other hand, could stand up under the persecution and death they knew was likely to come. God doesn’t usually cause that kind of suffering, but he does allow it to happen and he always uses it to make us stronger if we follow his lead (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10; 1: 8-11; 1 Peter 1: 3-9; James 1: 2-4; Romans 8: 28).

Job is an example of that. God gave Satan permission to test/prove Job’s faith within certain limits. Even when the limit was relaxed to allow physical torment in addition to the emotional distress already imposed, Job took it without sinning (Job 1: 6 to 2: 10).

But, did you notice what was going on with Job’s wife? She couldn’t bear to watch Job’s suffering and didn’t think he could or should face it any longer. Job called that for what it was — a silly notion.

Our state of mind often determines the magnitude of the effect of our suffering. If we have a defeated attitude, like Job’s wife, we’ll be defeated. If we’re victorious in attitude, we’ll be victorious in life (1 John 5: 1-5; 1 Corinthians 15: 53-58; 2 Corinthians 2: 14-16). The positive state of mind that leads to survival need not be developed before the trouble starts, but it must be pointed in the right direction. Job was already focused on God (Job 1: 1-5).

Do you trust God to carry you through? You’ll survive, if not for this life, for the eternal life, if you’ll call on him (Job 19: 25-27; 16: 19-21; 1 Timothy 2: 5, 6; Hebrews 7: 25; Romans 10: 8-13; Acts 22: 16). Even when things get so bad in the world – and they’ll get worse than they are now – God won’t let it get so bad that his children can’t stand up under it (Matthew 24: 21, 22).

Focus on God (James 5: 11).