Let’s continue in these issues, vital issues for most counseling situations. These certainly are not exhaustive or comprehensive. It is not all that we need to know to minister to one another. But they go a long, long way. They are strategic. They’re powerful in counseling God’s way. They can be life-giving, life-directing vital issues from God.
Along with the matter of God’s resources not ours—the first issue we looked at was many Scriptures—and then looking to the Lord—other Scriptures, with this vital issue of trials, difficulties and impossibilities.
In 1 Peter 4:12,
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.
We’re not to think it strange when the fires get hot. Many years ago a dear young sister in the church I pastored in Dallas, pulled me aside and started just pouring out her heart. “Oh, the strangest thing has happened to me,” she told me. “It’s just so strange.” Then she went on to describe it some more. She said, “It’s the strangest thing.” She just kept saying it. Finally it clicked, you know. It’s like the Lord just tapping me on the shoulder. You should open the Bible and read 1 Peter 4:12 to her. And really I guess with a kind of twinkle in my eye, I did. And she just burst out in laughter. You know, oh yeah, it’s not that strange, is it?
Think it not strange when the fiery ordeal comes upon you. So many people, when they’re seeking a word of counsel, especially if they’re in a tremendous dilemma, they are quite convinced this is the strangest thing in the universe. It really isn’t strange. It’s kind of ordinary as far as God’s concerned. He has seen it. In fact, it’s even built in.
It comes upon us, the fiery trial, to try you or to test us. You want to purify gold and test it and see what it is, you put it in the fire and if there’s impurity there it comes to the surface. The Lord surfaces a lot of things through our trials. It’s not strange. It is for our testing. God is going to use it to show you things and to purge things.
Now 1 Peter 4:15-16,
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, [you know, for Christ, as a believer, for righteousness’ sake] let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
There’s a kind of trial and difficulty and testing that is to diminish in our lives. Those are the ones we produce as humanity by being murderers, thieves, evil doers or busy bodies. Those will all produce tremendous trials too. But we’re not to suffer those ways. Stay away from that kind of trial. That kind of trial should diminish, you know, the kind that we cause.
But there is another kind that is beyond our control. The kind, sort of like Christ, where if you do everything perfectly right, doesn’t mean you won’t have any trials or difficulties or impossibilities. Jesus never erred, never rebelled; he never missed the Father’s will. Did Jesus have any trials and difficulties and impossibilities? Yes, heaps of them. What are we going to have if we walk with Christ, follow Jesus, and walk His path?
In 1 Peter 1:6-7, kind of on this same theme—
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Testings, trials, and fiery ordeals come to demonstrate the genuineness of our faith. They are for the proving of our faith and the demonstrating of its reality. We do get tested by fire, fires of life, fires of battle, fires of warfare and circumstances. But ultimately, if we walk through them God’s way, it will result in praise and glory and honor to the Lord.
Trials, difficulties and impossibilities, these things often stir a quest for counseling. Oh how many people I have counseled through the years that did not realize, or at least had forgotten for the moment, that trials and difficulties and impossibilities are absolutely built in to the Christian life. They come with the territory, as people say. It’s not like if you do it all right, say it all right, name it, claim it, watch out, being careful, so that you can avoid all these difficult things. No, sometimes the more right you do it, the greater the trial. No one was as right as Jesus. No one faced the cross like He did. It is built in to the Christian life.
I have found folks buried in trials, and in just reading them these verses it was like a cloud blew away. They were under condemnation. They were under a sense of guilt and alienation. All from the work of the enemy, you know. “Boy, some Christian you are. Look at the trial you’re in. Ha, ha, ha. You call yourself a believer?” They are normal. They are guaranteed. Be encouraged. Have hope, things can get much worse!
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Count it all joy. That doesn’t mean that all suffering is enjoyable. “Hey, enjoy yourself. The painful situation you’re in, you must be having a tremendous time.” It’s not that. It is count it all joy. That is, consider it a matter that will produce joyful things. That where it’s heading—“For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross,” you know. It’s not that it’s fun to hurt, but it’s a blessing to know that there’s value in it. That it is heading somewhere. That it is producing something of value.
Count it all joy when you fall into various trials. We’d probably prefer that that read if you fall into various trials. It might kind of leave us an out that, “Hey, maybe I won’t fall into a trial.” No, it’s when you fall into various trials. They are there. They won’t stop coming all the way, through our trek home to heaven. But we can count it all joy. We can consider it a cause for rejoicing in what it can do and what it can produce.
And notice, when you fall into various trials. Sometimes when we seek counsel, or those that are seeking counsel, they are in various trials. It’s amazing, isn’t it, the variety in which trials can come. There are not just ten or twelve kinds, but various trials. And the amazing thing is that sometimes they seem to come all at once. Well, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.
How can we do that? “Knowing this…” again, there are things we just need to know. The whole Word of God is not a list of things to do. Now, there are things to do. But the things to do come built in to what God has already done in Christ. And we walk in His provision and find the doing thereof. But a lot of the Word of God doesn’t have to do with doing and not doing, rather it is knowing or not knowing. So we can believe what we need to believe. If we’re going to count it all joy, we have to know this, “that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
You know, people say, “Don’t pray for patience.”
“Oh, that’s the key to growth, huh? Don’t pray for patience?”
“Yeah, cause then you won’t have these trials.”
No, God wants us to be patient people. It’s right to pray for patience. We might wince a little when we do, thinking “What is it going to take to answer this prayer? What is it going to take to make me patient, Lord?”
See, it is the testing of our faith that produces patience. Counselors need to know that. Those seeking counsel, those giving and receiving in counsel and personal ministry need to know that the testing of faith produces, develops, patience or endurance, and spiritual stamina. We want to have spiritual stamina. Well, it comes through the testing of our faith. It’s like saying, “I want this ideal, perfect Garden of Eden, physique.” Well, it doesn’t come from eating Twinkies. It is the testing of those muscles that produces stamina in them. So instead of lifting Twinkies you lift weights. And those muscles get tested and stamina gets built into them.
So it is with our faith. It’s the testing of our faith that produces patience or stamina or spiritual endurance. We need spiritual endurance for the battle, for ministering to others. It doesn’t come by sitting in a religious rocking chair. We get thrown into the middle of it [the trial].
Someone said, “When you get put where you only have one nostril left above water, you know that is a good position to be in. Because if you only have one nostril left above water, your mouth is shut. And then you do a lot of listening.” That is part of developing spiritually.
James 1:4, “But let patience have its perfect work. [Why?] That you may be perfect [That is, mature] and complete, [made whole, growing, maturing] lacking nothing.”
We don’t want to flee from trials. We don’t want to hide from them. We want to let God work out the process that is involved in them, so that we can be perfected, made mature and whole in Christ, lacking nothing. Trials, difficulties, impossibilities, they’re built in to the Christian life.
How rough can they get? 2 Corinthians 1:8,
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
That’s a pretty tough situation, isn’t it? Look how tough. “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves…” (2 Corinthians 1:9).
Why does God let His people, His faithful servants like Paul, go through such things? “That we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).
“The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). God wants us to grow in faith. He reveals Himself to us in the Word. He often then applies that revelation of Himself to our walk and our practice. And we go, “Oh yeah, I’m orthodox. I believe in a God of resurrection.” Then He lets you die, you know, circumstantially, emotionally. And if God doesn’t become again to you practically a God of resurrection, it’s all over. Boy, what that does to our faith. When you’re dying emotionally, mentally, relationally, spiritually, circumstantially, you just get purged of self-trust. That we should not trust in ourselves. It’s like, “Hey, I’m not changing this no matter what I do. And I can’t handle it while I’m going through it.” Oh how you start crying out for a God who raises the dead. We’re talking here about personal, daily, experiential application. Paul is not talking about the final resurrection because in 2 Corinthians 1:10, “…who delivered us from so great a death.” God raised him, spared him, “…and does deliver us, in whom we trust that He will still deliver.”
These are great words to share with those who are going through dying circumstances. Let them know, “Hey, it’s not unique.”
In 2 Corinthians 4:7, look at the things God’s people go through—
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
God has put His treasure of life in the Lord Jesus Christ in us the hope of glory in these earthen vessels, these vulnerable human lives that contain Christ in us. He does that so He gets the glory. The power that comes forth in our lives has to be Him.
And He puts us through things that bring it forth. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9,
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
The earthen vessels are going through tough things, but the treasure is inside—Christ in us the hope of glory—is sustaining us. A lot of folks seeking counsel, what they’re really going through—is in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 and they never knew it. They’re thinking, “What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I get this right? How come me and nobody else?” And all that is happening is another earthen vessel, with the treasure of Christ, is going through those things that let the excellence of the power be of God and not of us. We are going through things we can’t handle, so that when we hope in Him, He comes through for us. People say, “Come on, what’s your knack? I mean, how’d you handle that? How’d you survive that? How did you go through that and come out the other side even better than when you went in it looks like? What’s the deal here?” It’s not this clay pot. It’s the treasure inside.
Trials, difficulties, impossibilities are built into the Christian life.
Let’s jump ahead to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10,
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
9 And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
10 Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
A lot of times the tough things of life the Lord is allowing like a thorn in the flesh, something that just hangs on and on. We might even plead with God and He doesn’t remove it. It’s not all that strange. And it doesn’t mean you don’t know how to walk the Christian walk or that you can’t get it all together. That you’re thinking, “I guess I don’t have a knack at it.” It can be that God is perfecting His strength in our weakness.
The more we’re aware of our weakness the more we are inclined to rely on His strength. And often people’s strengths can become their greatest weakness. “I can handle it in that area.” Oh? Paul was begging for relief on this one. Sure, God could have healed him. He had been used of God in miraculous healings. But God had something else to show Him. “Not My healing power, but My sustaining power seen through My daily grace, given to you to bear you through.”
We don’t know when someone is hurting and comes to us for counsel if what they are involved in is a thorn in the flesh, but it might be. Especially if it has hung on for years and especially if everyone knows that person walks a path of godliness. They’re not indulging the flesh and bringing on trouble. They’re not becoming objects of needed chastisement. God is just teaching them a deeper dimension of His grace and His power. And we can share this and leave it between them and the Lord, to see whether every detail applies. But in the moment they’ll find His sustaining grace sufficient if they will throw themselves on Him.
Trials, difficulties, impossibilities, they are vital issues to share with people. To let them know that it’s built right into the Christian life. Value can come out of it. Maturing, spiritual growth, stamina can come from it. And God can get much glory through it too.
Another vital issue with some Scriptures to show us some of the dimensions of it are: hope, encouragement and assurance. Oh how many people need a word of hope, a word of encouragement, and a word of assurance!
Personally, in my own calling to discipling and counseling ministry, this is an arena I love to minister the Word to folks. It hit me one day in a period of hopelessness that it is harder to survive, progress, develop, to be fruitful and effective spiritually without hope, than it is to make it physically without oxygen. You just can’t do it. I really think there’s a kinship. With someone who is not getting enough oxygen, they just sense that they are dying from a lack of oxygen or they are suffocating. Spiritually it is a lot like hopelessness. It’s a paralyzer. It’s a killer. I mean it is just so hard to move on without hope.
One of the great blessings in the counseling ministry is to minister the hope of the Lord to people, and His encouragement.
I heard of an older brother in the faith who had served the Lord many years say that the number one destroyer of ministry through the years—and what he named was not what I ever would have guessed. You know, it wasn’t heresy, though that will destroy ministry. It wasn’t covetousness and money. That will destroy. Power and greed will destroy. Sexual immorality will destroy ministry. Sure. But he said the number one destroyer was discouragement. Makes sense, doesn’t it? We’ve probably all had our bouts with that. Personally, I don’t know anything I’ve faced in nearly as big in twenty-nine years of teaching the Word that measured up as big of a mountain as discouragement. I think he was right on.
We need to minister encouragement to people. There are a lot of people in counseling situations of great difficulty, the vital issue they need is just some real godly encouragement. Not “Keep a stiff upper lip,” or “Every cloud has a silver lining,” or “Always try to look on the bright side of things.” Not that kind of stuff.
Not that anemic kind of philosophical, psychological jargon. “Well, man, just stay positive!”
“Well, I am. I’m positively hopeless!” They need real encouragement and real hope.
And they need assurance or a sense of certainty, where people are plagued with doubt. The Bible is filled with heavenly hope, encouragement and assurance. Sometimes when that person comes, you might hear what they have to share and you become hopeless. “Oh, oh, there’s no answer. You’re the one exception to the promises of God.” You can feel that way sometimes, just hearing somebody’s dilemma. Often the reason God sent them our way is just to be an instrument to share some of His hope, encouragement and assurance.
You might not have a clue what their next step today or tomorrow should be. But to be able to minister hope, encouragement and assurance, oh, it can change everything!
Like 1 Corinthians 10:13,
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
That is a word of hope and encouragement there. No temptation, no testing, no trial, circumstantial or invitation of the enemy, has overtaken you except such as is common to man. Oh, how the enemy lies here to people! A Christian gets in a tough situation, oh here comes the enemy to start bombarding them. “Oh my goodness, no—none of God’s so-called kids ever messed up like this. Boy, nobody ever got in a dilemma like you’re in.” He is trying to build fear and condemnation. It’s a lie. There’s nothing anyone gets into but God hasn’t seen it many times before. This doesn’t mean every person’s trials are identical to every other’s. But they’re common, you know. You have a thousand Christians and five are going through what looks like it is quite unique. Well, five of them are having the same thing and probably five hundred thousand and five have already gone through it. These things are common to man.
The Lord might use us to put away the lie of the enemy with someone who is maybe really buried deeper by the condemnation of the enemy than by the impossibility of the circumstances. But God is faithful. Boy, there is the hope. There is the encouragement. God is faithful and He is reliable. He won’t let you down. Yes, it looks impossible. Yes, circumstantially you don’t have a clue about how to adjust it. And you maybe haven’t seen anyone go through this exactly. But it’s common and God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted or tested beyond what you are able (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Have you ever doubted that truth? Have you ever looked at that and then looked at your circumstance and said—“Boy, God thinks I can handle this? He’s faithful. He will not allow me to be tempted or tested beyond what I’m able? Oh man, that really stretches my faith, because I can’t handle this.” Well, He knows where we are in Him. And He might want to stretch us beyond what we think we’re able to handle. But He knows where we are. He also knows that if He takes us beyond what we think we can handle, we’re ready to learn a new lesson of faith. We’re ready to learn a new dimension of trust. We’re ready to, as it were, be in the impossible situation and see that God is able to raise the dead and here I am dying.
It goes beyond what we think the parameters would be. But God knows what we can handle in Him. He knows where we are in the faith and our progress of faith and what we’re ready to trust Him for next. He knows.
And also with the temptation or testing He’ll make a way of escape. I was once thinking of this verse in likening trials and temptations and testings as kind of, you know, plowing through an under-the-street sewer pipe. And you are just crawling and clamoring trying to get through this slime and gunk. You can’t even see a light at the end of the tunnel. And yet you have this promise that with the temptation He’ll also make the way of escape. The picture I had was of a manhole right above my head. God’s going to open it any minute and just snatch me out of there, which He definitely can do. But this verse is not really talking about that because look at how it ends, “That you may be able to bear it.” Or it could be translated, “endure it.” The implication being that so often the way of escape, the way out, is through it. I think our favorite way out is, [whoosh] out. “Well, You see the mess I’m in. I know You can deliver.” Whoosh! Waiting for that quick snatch, you know, kind of a mini rapture. “Get me out of this mess and set me over here.” And praise God, He can do that. He’s done that in my life a few times. I praise His name for it. It’s my favorite way of deliverance.
But I tell you there have been plenty of other times when there was no manhole. The next manhole was three miles ahead and there was a truck parked on it. You know, I was going to climb out through there. But eventually, eventually down there when all the things that needed to be done, learned, gone through, people met, things said, heart broken, whatever—He provides the way of escape. He provides the way out and on but it does involve bearing or endurance, you know. And it hinges on the fact that God is faithful.
In 1 Peter 5:10,
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered awhile, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.
Boy, this is a powerful verse…God of all grace! All the grace we’ll ever need. All the kinds that ever could be, all the amounts and measures we’d ever want or need for us or those we minister to, He is the God of all grace.
And He has called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus. Heaven is our home forever and while we’re waiting and along the way, He’s going to do some perfecting, establishing, strengthening and settling. Aren’t those great words? “Oh Lord, yes! Do that in my life! Oh wait a minute. What’s this here?—“after you have suffered a while.”
It is kind of an exhilarating, but half scary verse too. It starts and ends just like dynamite, doesn’t it? God of all grace! He Himself perfecting, establishing, strengthening and settling. But you know so often He does that work right on the heels of, or as a consequence of, or tied into some difficulty, impossibility, some suffering.
Every one of these verses that I’ve shared with you, and the reason I began sharing them years ago with others, was every one of these had a life-changing impact in my own heart. That is why they were there, to share with others.
I was reading this verse one day in heavy anguish, during a period of intense suffering. And it hit me, “…after you’ve suffered a while this God of all grace will perfect, establish, and strengthen.” I used to walk a lot in those days out alone, and when I couldn’t get into athletic things which I liked to do a lot, I would be out trekking and running. I used to like to run and walk and just go over this verse, every phrase, every word. Then pray about it. One day in anguish I was praying on this verse and it hit me, after you’ve suffering a little while, and it just kind of hit me that maybe “the little while” is just about up. And maybe all the rest of this is just about to be put in place. Man, it just stirred hope in me, you know. And this is the God of all grace. He’s not going to stretch it out too far anyway. And as long as He stretches He’s got grace to sustain me. And when the suffering is done, kind of the plowing, the humbling, the breaking, look where it can lead! I want to be perfected. I want to be matured. I want to be established, and stabilized. I want to be strengthened. I want to get settled, you know, just locked into God and His Word and His path and His work. I tell you, it can stir hope within you!
I love to share that verse with people who are really suffering. I might not have a clue how to get them out of their suffering. But I can remind them, in the name of the Lord, what might come out of their suffering. And maybe at any time now! How do you know but what “the little while” is just about up. And look what is on the other side of it, if you look to the God of all grace. The God of all grace will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you. These kinds of verses build tremendous hope.Isaiah 41:10 is a great verse for hope. We’re not talking humanistic, psychological, power of positive thinking either. Look at this, Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not for I am with you.”
A lot of people who are seeking a word of counsel are paralyzed by fear. You do not have to fear. “It is easy for you to say.” No, no, God says this. Why is there no need for fear?—“For I am with you.” Yes, you’re in a tough situation. Yes, scary things are ahead. Don’t forget this. God says, “I am with you. Be not dismayed.” You’re just sick inside. Just mangled and thrown away. Don’t be dismayed. Why?—“Because I am your God.” I’m your God. I’m the God and I’m your God!
And then He gives some promises. “I will strengthen you.” Why? Because He knows in those things we are weak. Yes, “I will help you.” Why does He say that? Because He knows how desperately we need His help. Yes, “I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Why does He say that? Because we feel like we’re falling apart. This is fantastic hope from heaven in these words.
Then one last one before we conclude. This is a great verse for hope, encouragement, and assurance. Romans 15:13,
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Boy, what a fantastic word for hope! I tell you again as a personal testimony. God has let me go through some times where I have literally hours before Him wept and read and cried out to Him in a verse like that. Where if there weren’t these kind of promises and hopes there would be no hope. Because I didn’t have any! But we serve the God of hope, the God in whom we can hope. He is the God who produces hope.
Remember what hope is in the New Testament, confidence, expectation, certainty and guarantees. I’m just sad we have this American English hope, cross your fingers hope. “Well, I hope so.” What does that have to do with anything? “Well, we’ve got our fingers crossed for you.” Oh thanks a lot, you might as well cross your eyes. I mean, what is this? It is total superstition. That is not hope. New Testament hope, expectation, confidence, and certainty are ours because we serve the God of hope.
This is a prayer. I love to pray this prayer for my own walk with the Lord, my family, those to whom I minister. I love to pray this verse. “Oh God, You’re the God of hope. Would You fill us? Just fill us with all joy and peace related to believing. Lord, reveal Yourself to us. Stir faith in us to where we are believing You so much that we are just bubbling over with joy and peace.” People will wonder what you are so happy about and why you are so mellow and tranquil and peaceful. I’m just believing Him. I’m just believing He is who He said He is. He did what He said He did. He can fulfill all of His promises. I am just believing Him. It makes you happy and it sets you at peace.
To what end can this work?—“That you may abound in hope.” It is that word again for waves rolling up, big breakers rolling up on a seashore. That you just might have waves of hope flood over you. The world has anxiety attacks, but just have a hope frenzy, just boom! I’ve just got so much hope, I’m just exploding!
How does that happen? It is by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God at work in us, stirring faith in the character and promises of God. Just bringing joy and peace, knowing it’s all from the God of hope and just can roll in like waves of hope. You have hope or confidence or expectation or a sense of certainty in God and His ways. It kind of rolls up, and kind of washes against your hip, like a three-foot breaker or something and the Lord just keeps working. Man, before you know it you’re on the pipeline. You know, just twenty-five foot waves of hope. Just sweeping over me and surfing me to all kinds of victory and progress.
This is a fantastic verse. I love to share it with people who seem like they’re suffocating spiritually from hopelessness. Hey, Let’s just go back to basics. Let’s talk about the God of hope. Let’s think a little bit about how right it is—and really easy when we’re thinking straight with Him, to believe in Him. Who He is, what He has done, Let’s think of these things. And in that believing, just let the joy and the peace start to well up inside. And even let it become waves that just start rolling on us, to where we just abound in hope. Our expectation grows from one foot breakers, to two foot breakers. “Oh, Lord, 25 foot or 30 foot breakers! How about a tidal wave! Overwhelm me with anticipation and expectation. You are the God of hope!”
Sometimes ministering a verse like that to someone who is buried in despair, it’s the greatest thing you could ever do for them. It is fantastic to minister the hope of God. But, by the grace of God may it be real hope, real encouragement and real assurance. And it will be if it’s this kind of hope, this kind of encouragement, this kind of assurance. This is a vital truth. If we never became known as Solomons of the Church, the great gift of the word of wisdom or wisdom in counseling beyond the others, if we could just bring to the hopeless a word of hope, we would have a ministry that would grow out of sight! And I believe as the days press darker, nearing the return of the Lord, we’re going to need to minister this more and more to people. And praise God we’ve got limitless measures of it to minister.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, we thank You for these vital truths. We pray that You would build into each of our lives, maybe some of these, maybe all, maybe others, but that personal list of deep ways that You’ve spoken to us and touched us, Lord, so that at any time we’re ready to just share these with others, especially when we don’t even have a clue what to tell them to do. Let us minister these things about Your resources and not ours and looking to the Lord and how normal trials are and what a great hope we have. Lord, work these in our lives and then out through us to others and we know we’ll be more equipped to counsel God’s way. In Jesus’ name, amen.