Power for Living Sunday School Lesson for September 16, 2012
A few words on the lesson aim…
That you will learn that difficulties are often permitted by God to develop character within us.
Charles Swindoll says, “Each problem is a God-appointed instructor” letting us know that there is a purpose in every trial and hardship we encounter in life.
When we are going through a personal trial, it is good to search to discover what God is working in or out of us. It is good to embrace the words of David in Psalm 139:23-24, “ Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
No one likes going through trials. I can’t think of any Christian that says, “Oh goody! Here comes a trial! I wonder if it will be cancer, or bankruptcy or divorce. I am so excited about this upcoming storm in my life!” However, if we were to have a proper understanding of the ways and methods of God, we would rejoice when storms are approaching. Why? Because each storm has a purpose, bringing with it a lesson to learn. Each storm presents us with an opportunity to know Christ more intimately in “the fellowship of sufferings” (see Philippians 3:10). Each storm gives us an opportunity to gain a new level of spiritual maturity.
As we go through our trials, let us keep in mind how essential it is for us to learn the lesson God is teaching us. Always remember: somewhere, in some distant future, someone is depending on you to learn this lesson. At the time a storm enters our life, we may not understand why God has elected us to experience problems with our health, family, career, etc. But we can be encouraged to know we will understand some day. When a person walks into our life and they are experiencing that same trial, then we will become living epistles as we fulfill the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 (NASB),
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer