HOW TO EMBRACE THE TRIALS OF LIFE

“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”

(Psalm 119:71).

One purpose of a trial is to know what is in your heart. Not that God does not already know. The problem is, we do not know what is in our hearts. We may think that we are okay, and we do not have a problem. Thus, God will allow a trial in our life to show us what is really in our hearts.

The prophet Jeremiah reaffirms, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind.”  (Jeremiah 17:9-10). God’s testing helps us to understand ourselves and to know our limitations and our weaknesses, so we will learn to trust in God and not in ourselves.

During trials, it is challenging to realize that God will lead us to step by step. There are so many things in our hearts that God needs to deal with, but He cannot deal with them until they surface, and testing will do that to allow us to see the truth. We need to be humble. We cannot allow pride to rule in our hearts. Pride will always keep us from seeing the truth about ourselves. Always remember that God hates the proud (Proverbs 6:16-17). Pride is a great enemy to you. It will lie to you, and it can destroy you. But “humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).

Every trial is intended to bring us closer to God, where we learn to grow and where we see the power and the love of God manifested. It is there where you come into a deeper relationship with God. James tells us to, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4).

Another purpose for trials is to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ. They also bring you into maturity as you learn lessons from trials. God would have us to grow up and become mature. Patience is one of the main ways that produces wisdom and maturity.

Jesus taught His disciples, and that includes us today, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” That you might be perfect means that you offer your life as a sacrifice to God. It also means that you might be mature, that you might grow up, that you might fulfill God’s purpose.

This Word patience does not describe a passive waiting but an active endurance. Perseverance is “the frame of mind which endures.” You do not become patient by trying to be patient. It is not something that we receive as a gift of the Holy Spirit. It is something that God has chosen to develop in us through trials. We do not like to hear that; we would rather have instant patience. “Lord gives me patience, and I want it right now.”

Believers do everything possible to avoid trials. We try to avoid them like the plague. Interestingly, they are referred to by Peter as being more precious than gold. There often comes a time when we look back upon a trial and bless God for it, rather than murmur to Him about it as we did before.

God’s Word is full of instructions for us to follow. Whatever we need in life, He has a promise it and a way for us to apply it to our life. Believers can count on God’s grace and mercy in everything that comes their way. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

What a glorious promise! How many times in coming to God do we come based on this verse? We often do not know what to do in a situation. There are so many things in life that we do not know what the correct path is to take. We lack wisdom. It is beautiful to be able to come to God and ask for wisdom and realize that He will give to all believers freely. The wisest thing that you can ever do is to seek the knowledge of God.

James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Trials bring a necessary season to seek wisdom from God. We often do not know how much we need understanding until our time of difficulty. During a test we need to see if it is something God wants us to eliminate from our lives, is it a lesson we need to apply to our lives, or is the devil attacking our faith in God?  Wisdom must discern between the three, perseverance to get through it, and trust in God is knowing He is with us.

Wisdom is much more than knowledge, and believers need to seek it with their whole heart. Knowledge is raw information, but wisdom knows how to use it. Someone once said that “knowledge is the ability to take things apart, but wisdom is the ability to put things together.”

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

Sometimes we lack unwavering faith. We doubt that God will work in us and help us through this trial. James tells us that we should ask in faith, nothing wavering. He tells us that wavering hope is weak faith. Unwavering faith is sure and founded on the promises of God.

Believers waver on many issues because they do not know the will of the Lord on a specific matter. But we must remember that our request for wisdom must be made like any other request – in faith, without doubting God’s ability or desire to give us His knowledge.

We must come in faith and must ask in faith. We must pray for God’s guidance with no doubting. Scripture tells us the one who doubts and lacks confidence should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. This lack of faith and trust in God also shows that we do not have a strong enough foundation and will cause us to be unstable in all our ways.

THE FRUIT OF JOYFUL PATIENCE

TRIBULATIONS PRODUCE PATIENCE

Paul the Apostle gives us insight for our growth during trials, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us that: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12 [NJKV]).

Once again, the Bible tells us to count it all joy when you fall into diverse problems. We glory in tribulation because we have learned that in every trial, there is an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in our life. Therefore, it is best to wait on the Lord.

TRIBULATION WORKETH PATIENCE – PATIENCE BRINGS EXPERIENCE

As we wait upon God, we experience the work of God. We see God’s work. We learn by experience that God does work in every situation where we wait on Him. We experience that work of God, and as we experience God’s faithfulness in working out our problems, it only then enhances our hope.

So, we glory in tribulation because we know there is another opportunity for God to work in our lives, for us to experience God’s love and God’s grace anew as He works in our situation. As we see the work of God completed, our hope gets stronger. God is faithful and will keep His Word. The Lord will prove all that He promised.

Scripture encourages us to embrace trials because they have a refining purpose. Believers draw closer to God, becoming more obedient and mature during these seasons. Let us look at how Peter response to trials. He tells us to be happy and joyful during them, “Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trials which are to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.  But rejoice, in as much as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part, he is evil spoken of, but on your part, He is glorified” (1 Peter 4:12-14).

When many people in the world go through hardship, they curse God, speaking evil of Him, but His own glorify Him. This recognition does not always happen, but it should.

GOD WILL DELIVER US IN HIS TIME

“There hath 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 ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

For whatever causes my trials, the lessons learned through experience strengthens the seat of my personality, will, and purpose.  The way of escape which God has provided adds substance to my faith and builds a firmer foundation in my inward man. The spiritual teachings behind every trial illuminate the foundation of my new life.

TRIBULATIONS + PATIENCE + EXPERIENCE = HOPE!

There is an unbroken line from tribulation to hope that brings about maturity in our lives.  One leads to another, and they all accommodate and perfect each other.

When we take an area of our lives to the Cross, we enter the fellowship of his suffering. When God works patience in us through tribulations, we truly gain experience and hope.

PATIENCE = EXPERIENCE

The suffering and experiences of our life benefit God’s people, as we saw with the trials of Mary and Joseph at the birth of Christ.

The Word of God is full of mercy, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and the God of all comfort who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we are comforted” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Jesus went through temptations in all areas of life, such as we, but without sin.  He drew from these trials the experience which allowed Him to comfort others going through such an ordeal. “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Because Jesus endured, learned, and was victorious, He can identify and comfort us. His experience positions Him to be of value to us in our time of need. He indeed relates to us firsthand in every area He has experienced. For with every experience, He has received hope, and because of every victory, He has life-changing effects upon whom He consults.

“Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  Likewise, we are ministers who can take our experience and use it to bring into the counsel and comfort to others. The lessons we learn can be shared with others as we enter deeper into the fellowship of His suffering.

FROM EXPERIENCE COMES HOPE

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Hope is unseen; it is yet future, such as hoping for eternal life or even the end of a trial. Our faith is in Jesus, and He is the substance (everything which goes into making our faith possible, as well as our reason for belief and the answer to everything). And He is all the things we hope for, (eternal life, deliverance, new bodies, experience, rewards, etc.), which makes him the evidence of the things not seen.

The spirit bears witness to this transformation as we reflect His image.  Our faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the proving of things not seen.

ALL THINGS BECOME POSSIBLE

“All things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.” Here lies our faith, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure, (Philippians. 2:13). By His grace and faithfulness, we endure our trials patiently, which adds character to our life and brings alive our soul unto God.

Believers will experience God’s love and working in them as they see the hope set before them in Christ Jesus. God has promised to see us through anything that comes our way.

He is working in our new life (soul) has taught us through experience that His Word is sure and true. Thus, increasing our hope as we reflect upon God’s past workings during our next trial. Hence, our spiritual walk and future in Him look hopeful.

All the fears, doubts, flesh, and sin, which first plagued our trial is de-throne, and the real inward man, the seat of our new life, takes its rightful place.

“Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). “For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).

It is interesting to note this scripture in Hebrews that we first do the will of God, and then with patience, we wait to receive the promise. So, in faith, we do the will of God by believing He will perform, then with patience, we await the sign of His working, which is our hope. It is through our endurance and its fruit-bearing that makes alive our soul, our new life unto God.

Our souls live and have substance through our patience, for through our patience, we are spiritually alive in Christ and await the promise of eternal life, which flesh, and blood cannot inherit.

THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO OUR TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS

Discerning the right response to trials is impossible without God’s wisdom. Formulating your theories, making your guesses, and imagining your reasons for hardships are worthless. Only under the guidance of divine knowledge can you begin to see through the tragedy, uncover God’s purposes, and discern the proper response. There are several rational responses to trying times:

  1. It may last a day, week, year, ordecades. First, Peter 5:6-7 promises that ifwe put ourselves under God’s authority,He will be faithful to resolve our difficultiesin His time. We may want Him toact sooner, but only He knows the perfecttime to carry out His purposes.

2. We must recognize that God has a specific purpose for allowing each trial in our lives. Because He is a loving Father,He will not prevent every challenge.However, the Lord will always endow Hischildren with the power to overcome theobstacles. Equally important, He will use thosehard times to shape us into the maturebelievers He desires us to be.

3. We must acknowledge that each trial is designed to meet a specific need that God sees in our lives. Frequently, we will notsee or understand that need until the test is over, and we have gained some distanceand perspective. Then, we can look back and realize that there was a great lesson to be learned or an error to be corrected. Because God has that perspective from the outset, He can do whatever is necessary to correct the problem.

4. Be convinced that the Lord will walk with us through each step of our stormy times in life. There willnever be a moment when He is absent.Hebrews 13:5 states this plainly, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” Christ’s presence provides acontinual refueling of our courage andpatience. With Jesus at our side, whatcould overtake us?

Glorious victory:  Although these are all positive ways to deal with hardships, there is one response we must never forget. Recognizing that by God’s grace and power, we will not only survive, but we will genuinely conquer life’s obstacles. That is true wisdom.

Understanding the causes, purposes, and right responses to adversity are vitally essential for us, but it should in no way mask the pain that we rightfully feel during these times. Instead, joy comes in honestly confessing the dire condition of an unpleasant situation and yet praising God for the good that He will bring our way.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY – Rely – Resist – Remove

RELY upon the power of the Holy Spirit within you to enable you to resist the temptation.  Otherwise, how could the apostle Paul assure us, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

RESIST the temptation by choosing to say “No!” to its appeal.  Overcoming temptation is always a decision we make.  It is a decision based on the wisdom of honestly evaluating the destructive consequences of yielding to the temptation.

REMOVE yourself from the presence of the temptation, if possible.  Scripture cautions us to, “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15). Timothy did not say to look the other way or contemplate your options, he said to leave in haste: “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace” (2 Timothy 2:22).

Throughout the Bible, we are urged: “to flee away, escape” “to flee for refuge,” “flee youthful lusts” (flee fornication, idolatry, evil doctrine, envy, strife, railings) and “the love of money” to name a few. If we cannot do something in faith, then it is a sin.

For the joy set before us – we endure suffering. Taking each part of our lives to the cross allows God to mature us as we live out the resurrected life in His Son.  For the joy set before us, we endure the suffering of our trials as we joyfully wait upon the Lord to produce the fruit of the test in our lives. Thus, this trial is creating and increasing patience within our new resurrected life. Therefore, we have entered the fellowship of His suffering.

WHAT WE GAIN THROUGH TRIALS

  • We gain an understanding of how weak we are.
  • Trials allow God to bear fruit in our lives and for us to give Him the glory.
  • We come to know and experience His faithfulness in a more personal way as He delivers us.
  • We can comfort others going through what we have gone through.
  • Most of all, our soul – our life – our inner man – our personality – our spirit – all come alive to God through the patience which trials produce.

Patience is something God is working in us, and it is glorious to see this quality developed as a part of our Christian nature and character.

PROMISES

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

“There hath 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 ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

A PRAYER

When Making a Difficult Decision

Dear Lord, the decision I must make will affect my life profoundly, and that makes me tense. Calm my mind. Show me what to do and how to do it. Help me listen to your answer and know the answer when it comes. Above all, help me see that it will happen. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: