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Pressure Produces Enlargement
Thou hast enlarged me when I was under pressure" (Ps 4:1 rsv). This Psalm was written by David after the greatest failure of his life his murderous, adulterous affair with Bathsheba (2Sam 11). Because of his sin, the Lord sent severe judgments on David. One of these was administered at the hands of his son Absalom, who usurped the throne and drove David into exile. Having to flee for his life and suffer horrible indignities brought "enlargement" to David. Even though his problems were of his own making, God graciously used these judgment times to make David a better man for the tasks yet ahead. If we acknowledge our failures and repent (renounce and turn from our sins), God graciously uses the chastisements and sufferings which follow to make us better leaders.

Trials Prove And Humble Us
God wants to discover whether we serve Him because we love Him or whether we serve Him for all the blessings He gives us. Jesus discovered that some followed Him "for the loaves and fishes " (that is, for what they could get from Him, not because they loved Him). Moses described God's actions in bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt: "Who led them through that great and terrible wilderness, where there were fiery serpents, and scorpions and drought, where there was no water, who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; "Who fed thee in the wilderness with    manna, which thy/others knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he mightiest thee, to do thee good at thy latter end" (Deut 8:15,16).

Why did God allow such severe tests and trials?
"To do thee good at thy latter end. " When God plans to enlarge and bless a minister or a church. He first takes them down into depths of discouragement, into the quagmire of hopeless situations. He does it "... so you -would never feel it was your own power and might that made you wealthy [great] ' ' (Deut 8:17). When God gives enlargement, pride often comes in and we think it is because of our own cleverness or gifts that we are enjoying such blessings. Because of God's mercy to save us from pride. He allows very hard times prior to great enlargement and blessing.

This happened in Job's life.
The devil told God, "Job only serves You because You have blessed him with so many material blessings. Take them away and Job will curse You." God responded to Satan's challenge by giving Satan permission to take all Job had. When Satan had killed Job's flocks, herds and children and had destroyed all his property, how did Job respond? Job "fell down upon the ground and worshipped" (Job 1:20). Job proved that Satan's accusations were wrong and that his love for God was genuine. He still worshipped God when his animals, his houses, his children and wealth were all taken away. Job said, "Though God slay me, yet I'll trust him" (Job 13:15). In the end God gave back to Job twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10). Job became recipient of the double portion because he proved himself God's loyal friend even in severe times of test and trial. "For examples of patience in suffering, look at the Lord's prophets.... Job is an example of a man who continued to trust the Lord in sorrow; from his experiences  we can see how the Lord's plan finally ended in good, for he is full of tenderness and mercy ' ' (Jas 5:10,11 tib).

Suffering Can Increase God's Power In Us
If you ask for God's power in your life, you must understand what is required to have it. David said, "He weakened my strength in the way" (Ps 102:23). When you ask for God's power He responds, "Do you really mean it? If you are willing to be reduced to weakness (total dependence on the Lord), and take the suffering, tests and trials that go with it, I'll give you My power."



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