Monday, December 5, 2011

To Shrink or to Grow?

"Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress" Psalm 4:1

This prayer was probably written when David was forced to leave Jeruslem during the rebellion led by his son Absalom. It was the most difficult period of David's career, and it appeared that everything was falling to pieces.

But see what these trials did for David: "Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress!" Another translation says, "You have relieved me in my distress." Literally it has the thought of "making room for." Instead of measuring his troubles, David was measuring himself to see if he had grown spiritually!

This is one reason God permits trials, they help us grow. Of course, if we rebel against God's will, troubles will break us down, but if we submit to His will they will build us up. "The troubles of my heart are enlarged," David cried in Psalm 25:17. But God was using those troubles to enlarge David!

Paul was able to say with confidence, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28). "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us" (2 Cor. 4:17). Both David and Paul realized that the Lord can bring blessing out of battles. In Psalm 18:19 we learn that instead of being hemmed in by his troubles, David stepped out into a large place. This is the victory of faith, turning confining trials into enlarging experiences. They put Paul into prison, but God made a "large place" as His servant ministered the Word of God. John was exiled to the tiny Island of Patmos, but God opened the heavens to him and made the island a "large place" of blessing.

In Psalm 18:36, David says, "you enlarged my steps!" He was able to take giant steps of faith because he had seen God at work in difficult circumstances. An enlarged heart (Ps. 4:1), a large place (Ps.18:19), and enlarged steps, what more could we want?

We are prone to complain about difficulties. How we need to remind ourselves that God-ordained trials are sent to accomplish God ordained purposes. God presses us with trials that He might enlarge us! He enlarges our difficulties that they may enlarge us and equip us for a larger place of service! No wonder Jabez prayed, "Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarged my border" (1 Chronicles 4:10).

Instead of resenting trials today, surrender to the Lord and allow His grace to enlarge you spiritually.

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