Like a wild horse that will not be bridled, or a rebellious child that will not listen, God sometimes uses the troubles in our lives to get our attention and to tame our wild hearts. This is the God-designed breaking in of our unbridled hearts. He will use the trials and troubles we face to break us, to bring us to the point that is far beyond our ability to endure. He does this so that we will not rely on ourselves, so that we come to the end of ourselves and realize we need Him and Him alone (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
God takes no joy in our suffering, “For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” (Lamentations 3:33). Our choices, the consequences of our own sin, the state of our fallen world, and the evil forces of darkness all collide together, or can singly be the cause of what is troubling us. God is good though (Psalm 136:1), and in His goodness, when we love Him, He will turn our worldly tragedies into eternal triumphs (Romans 8:28).
In this picture of us being broken by God by allowing us to go through trials, do not envision a beaten bruised body, or something of beauty being destroyed and left a shell of itself, but rather envision the chipping away of stone to expose a diamond, or the necessary breaking that occurs when muscle is being built.
When an athlete weight trains to gain strength, it is necessary for the muscle to break and tear in order for it to grow bigger and become stronger. And like any muscle training, the consumption of protein is essential to help re-build, develop and strengthen the muscle. As we go through this tearing, we must stay close to God, and not reject Him and His Word, because when we stay close to Him and digest His Word as protein, it aids in the strength and growth of our spiritual muscle.
Without the Word of God, spiritual growth cannot happen, and that brokenness we experience becomes our reality, our identity, and we really believe we are just broken, without seeing the perspective and work of Heaven in our lives.
GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS
We can go about our days, going through the motions, without a thought turned towards God. But in the split-second of change, in the moment of that trauma, there is an innate sense for us to turn to God. At the strike of disaster, how many people, whether they believe in God or not, say “Oh my God!” It is often only in our hard times that we start talking to God – to question Him, to question the situation, and to ask “Why me, why this, why now?”
When life is going good and going along as planned, it is easy for us to feel we do not need God. But when life throws us a curve ball it is often then, and only then that we turn to Him. Because for most of us, when tragedy or trouble is at our door, we are reminded how fragile and fleeting our life is. It is then we are reminded we cannot solely rely on ourselves, God will take us to the place where we are far beyond our ability to endure on our own.
BROKEN BUT STILL RUNNING
This is the pivotal point, when we question “Why me?” to our situation. Because of the pain, our senses are heightened. But really, the question should never be “Why me?” is should be “What do you want me to do God?” If the pain we are feeling is at His hands, He will always birth something new through it (Isaiah 66:9). Part of the test is whether we will turn away from Him, or run toward Him when we are in pain. What lies before us is a choice. This breaking point positions us to decide to push away from Jesus, or push in closer to Him.
In times of trial we need to run toward the presence of God, grab hold of the feet of Jesus, and seek out Heaven’s answers for the trouble we are in. When we do this with a humble and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17), He will make our “Valley of Trouble” a “door of hope” (Hosea 2:15 NLT).
Rather than running toward God, some of us stay in this moment of indecision, a type of spiritual stalemate. Where we examine the situation, God and ourselves, but we never make a decision; we can become frozen by indecision. This is the place where the devil would like us to stay – frozen in grief, angry, bitterness, depressed, numb or wracked with fear. Staying in this stalemate can result in a repeat of the same or similar trial repeating again, and we begin to believe we just have “bad luck.” But this is not the case, God has a new place spiritually for us to stand, and if we didn’t get it the first time, He will show us again. There are things God wants us to face and deal with – put to death, in order to move on and grow spiritually mature in Christ.
THE BREAKING OF US
Sometimes, God allows the breaking of us so that we will become spiritually strong. He is breaking us to make us whole – to make us holy (Leviticus 20:26; 1 Peter 1:16). It is when we are at our most broken that the Lord is very near to us (Psalm 34:18) whether we know it or not at the time. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:6-10), as we are more willing and hungry for the hand of God to move in our life when we are broken.
Our affliction can lead us back to God to obey His word (Psalm 119:67; Psalm 119:71) and His promises will comfort us in our suffering (Psalm 119:50) and we are to consider it joy when we experience various trials and troubles:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Jesus has told us ahead of time that we will have trouble:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
TO MEEK A WILD HORSE
Like a wild horse that is rebellious and will not be tamed, God will utilize the trails and suffering of this lifetime to train us in self-control and discipline; to bridle us for our own good, the service of Him, the benefit of others we are called to minister too, and our eternal benefit.
A wild horse is considered to be “meeked” when it has been tamed and will accept the bit in its mouth to follow the commands of its trainer (James 3:3-6). Like us, the horse has to make the choice to accept the bit in its mouth. When we are baptized by the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide us and tame our tongue – it is like we are allowing the Holy Spirit to put put a bit in our mouth. Jesus in Matthew 5:5 says: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” When understanding what Jesus meant by the word “meek,” completely ignore the definition in the Webster’s dictionary. Instead read the Strong’s Concordance definition of the original word “praus” that is translated as “meek” or “gentle” (Matthew 5:5, 11:29, 21:5; 1 Peter 3:4; Psalm 37:11; Zechariah 9:9; Numbers 12:3) to understand that Biblical “meekness” does not equate to “weakness” – it means “power under control.” The secular use for the ancient Greek “praus” was used to describe taming a wild animal.
“In the New Testament language of Koine Greek the word for humble was ‘praus’. Borrowed from the military, praus related to horse training. The Greecian army would find the wildest horses in the mountains and bring them to be broken in. After months of training they sorted themselves into categories: some were discarded, some broken and made useful for burden bearing, some were useful for ordinary duty and the fewest of all graduated as war horses. When a horse passed the conditioning required for a war horse, its state was described as ‘praus’. The war horse had ‘power under authority’ or ‘strength under control’. A war horse never ceased to be determined, strong and passionate. However it learned to bring its nature under discipline. It gave up being wild, unruly, out of control and rebellious. A war horse learned to bring that nature under control. It would now respond to the slightest touch of the rider, stand in the face of canon fire, thunder into battle and stop at a whisper.” Robert I Holmes of Storm-Harvest Ministries
Like a war horse that has yielded it’s strength, and stands bridled and ready for battle, God is training us to be able to hear his whisper, to feel His heart beat and love for all the people of the world; He is training us to move in the direction He is tugging the reins in. God is training us not be afraid of the battle we see around us (Ephesians 6:12), and is giving us the courage to stand firm, stare it down (James 4:7) and overcome it.
The word “overcomer” most often translated from the root Greek word is “nike” which means “to carry off the victory – the verb implies a battle.” The very troubles and trials we face are the spiritual battlegrounds where we become the overcomers He declared we will be. (Revelation 2:26; 3:21; 21:7; 1 John 5:4–5; Romans 8:35-39).
The question is: Will we let God put the bit in our mouths and steer the reins?