The 16 Words
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So, here you are, battling a sore trial and one thing after another is going wrong and nothing seems to be going right. Most of your friends don’t seem very concerned and those who try to help, aren’t really helping. You pray, asking God, “Why must I endure this terrible dilemma?”
It’s nearly certain that every true Christian will face a highly distressful situation of some kind sooner or later. For some, it could be a severe health crisis while others might confront a financial, marriage or an employment travail. Still others may have to fight loneliness, depression, a major character weakness or some other troubling issue. During such struggles words may be uttered such as, “Nobody cares and even God doesn’t seem to take notice of my hardship!” How do I know this? Because it was how I felt at one point during a long unemployment trial I dealt with many years ago.
Facing and handling inevitable trials
But, does expressing such negative feelings in trying times mean a Christian has failed in his or her quest to love and trust God and live by the faith of Jesus Christ? The answer is no. While our trials are certainly real and often very stressful, they are not unique and our reactions to them can be similar to others who preceded us in the faith (1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Corinthians 10:13There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
American King James Version×). For example, when King David encountered traumatic situations, he sometimes voiced frustrations—even questioning God’s power, love and mercy. He said, “Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?” (Psalms 77:7-9 Psalms 77:7-9  Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favorable no more?  Is his mercy clean gone for ever? does his promise fail for ever more?  Has God forgotten to be gracious? has he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.
American King James Version×). So, just as some of God’s people in bygone generations became edgy, irritated and impatient, it can and does happen today.
But why does God sometimes leave His devoted servants in major trials for extensive periods of time? While He certainly could stop them instantly, why doesn’t He? The Bible provides answers to these questions which involve our Creator’s desire not only to teach us vital lessons but for Him to discover what is in the depth of our hearts. In this regard, when considering the tremendous power and authority He will give us as spirit beings in His future Kingdom, He must know in advance and without reservation that we will remain unalterably loyal and obedient to Him under all circumstances, even unto death (Revelation 12:11 Revelation 12:11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.
American King James Version×). Furthermore, God permits troubles in our lives so we can plainly see our faults and weaknesses so that we can “go on to perfection” (Hebrews 6:1 Hebrews 6:1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
American King James Version×). And, it is His desire that we develop indispensable character qualities, such as the habit of waiting patiently and faithfully for His aid (Romans 5:3-4 Romans 5:3-4  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
American King James Version×). Everything He does is designed to fortify us so we will be able to believe and act on 16 important words when we undergo trials.
Remaining faithful at our weakest point
In scripture God explains that He will supply the help we need to endure any hardship or persecution (James 1:2-4 James 1:2-4  My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;
 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.
 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
American King James Version×). But, how can we be assured that a trial experienced at a vulnerable time in our lives won’t cause our spiritual defeat? In examining this from a positive perspective, if God sees that we will remain faithful at our weakest point, won’t He then have confidence that we will always be faithful? Again, reflect on how King David felt besieged and beleaguered at times—but he never gave up on God (Psalms 143:3 Psalms 143:3For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has smitten my life down to the ground; he has made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
American King James Version×). Also, the apostle Paul encountered tremendous distress—perhaps to the very limits of his endurance—but he did not abandon His Creator or His way of life (2 Corinthians 1:8 2 Corinthians 1:8For we would not, brothers, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life:
American King James Version×). But why? Because both of these men understood and applied the essence of the 16 words.
But how about us? What if God allowed Satan to trouble us in some way? Perhaps the devil would try pressuring us to believe that we are incapable of bearing up under great pressure. But advocating such a notion would be nothing more than a blatant lie since God doesn’t call anyone to failure! Rather, He is fully committed to our success and has promised to always be by our side (Isaiah 41:10 Isaiah 41:10Fear you not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
American King James Version×). He will provide everything we need to overcome any obstacle and have the spiritual strength to deflect all of the devil’s flaming arrows (Romans 8:31-32 Romans 8:31-32  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
American King James Version×; Ephesians 6:16 Ephesians 6:16Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
American King James Version×). So, when we exercise faith in God and His great power, we can watch how He works out the details in resolving our distressful situation. He may change circumstances—or He may not—but whenever and however He decides to act, we will ultimately be blessed because we love and trust Him completely (Psalms 28:7 Psalms 28:7The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song will I praise him.
American King James Version×).
Don’t wait until trouble comes!
We read earlier how the apostle Paul endured extremely difficult trials. Similarly, consider our Savior Jesus Christ who encountered unimaginable suffering and yet, left us an indelible example of faith under fire (1 Peter 4:12-13 1 Peter 4:12-13  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:
 But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.
American King James Version×). He did this for us. Why? “Lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:3 Hebrews 12:3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout). If we think about that when we are under duress, we will be more than confident that God will absolutely support and strengthen us (1 Peter 4:1-2 1 Peter 4:1-2  For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin;  That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
American King James Version×). All of this involves our willingness to believe and apply the 16 words.
Of course, any trial could be a stumbling block if we let it! Consequently, we must stay close to God in prayer and saturate our minds with His Word while continually stirring up His Spirit within us—just as Jesus did (John 7:38 John 7:38He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
American King James Version×). In this regard, we should never wait until trouble comes to try drawing near to God (James 4:8 James 4:8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.
American King James Version×)! Rather, we should be committed to praying daily and thanking Him constantly for His love and unending support through His Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:17 1 Thessalonians 5:17Pray without ceasing.
American King James Version×; 2 Timothy 1:6 2 Timothy 1:6Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.
American King James Version×).
The patriarch Job’s faithful example
But again, it can sometimes seem as if the situation we face is simply too much to bear. In this case, imagine what the biblical patriarch Job experienced. God allowed Satan to torment him severely and as a result, he lost all of his children and all of his wealth in a single day (Job 1:13-19 Job 1:13-19  And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house:
 And there came a messenger to Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
 And the Sabeans fell on them, and took them away; yes, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.
 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and has burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.
 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell on the camels, and have carried them away, yes, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.
 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house:
 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.
American King James Version×). Shortly afterward he lost his health when the devil afflicted him with ghastly boils all over his body (Job 2:7 Job 2:7So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown.
American King James Version×). But, why did Job undergo these dreadful trials? Was he a terrible sinner who refused to repent? Not at all! In fact, Job 1:1 Job 1:1There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
American King James Version×says he “was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.”
But at first, Job suffered appalling losses and immediately after hearing about them, he made a highly significant statement. He said in Job 1:21 Job 1:21And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
American King James Version×, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there.” He went on to say the following 16 words, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” These 16 words sum up what we need to believe and act upon in faith when we encounter our own trials. Just like Job, who recognized that God was in absolute control and trusted Him unconditionally, we should do the same.
16 words express what we should do
Finally, God gives us all good things (1 Timothy 6:17 1 Timothy 6:17Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy;
American King James Version×) and yet, sometimes He allows them to be taken away in order to teach us important lessons and test our faithfulness and obedience. Therefore, let’s never give up on Him or His way of life due to sore trials. Rather, let’s fully honor and rely on Him—being absolutely confident that He will always love, aid and support us (Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
American King James Version×). So, when we encounter troubling events let’s be ready to say and firmly believe these 16 words: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!”