What a joy it is to welcome Mike Orth back into the pulpit of HBC. Mike served as one of our elders when I arrived in 2007. He and his wife, Paula, and 4 children were an integral part of our church for many years. Mike will flesh out today some of the truths we’ve been studying in James regarding trials.
While his situation was health – the principles carry over into any and every circumstance. The question is how will we respond to the hardships that come into our lives? Trials will either make us bitter or better. Years ago my brother-in-law (now with the Lord) shared with me this old hymn by John Newton. I hope it challenges you as it has me throughout the years.
“I asked the Lord that I might grow, in faith, and love and every grace, might more of his salvation know, and see more earnestly his face. ‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray, and he, I trust has answered prayer; but it has been in such a way, as almost drove me to despair. I hoped that in some favored hour, at once he’d answer my request: and by his love’s constraining power, subdue my sins and give me rest. Instead of this, he made me feel the hidden evils of my heart; and let the angry powers of hell assault my soul in every part. Yea more, with his own hand he seemed intent to aggravate my woe; crossed all the fair designs I schemed, blasted my health, and laid me low. ‘Lord, why is this?’ I trembling cried. ‘Will you pursue this worm to death?’ ‘Tis in this way,’ the Lord replied, ‘I answer prayer for grace and faith. These inward trials I employ, from self and pride to set you free; and break your schemes of earthly joy, that you may seek your all in me.’”