The other day, I talked about trials we bring on ourselves. Today, topic is the second half and the other kind of trials. The one’s authored by God. I can think of two stories in the bible, Job, in which God allowed the devil to have his way with everything around him, but couldn’t lay a hand on him. He lost everything, but never cursed God for it. And Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, yet continue to pray and praise God. He was taken to Egypt, framed for a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to prison. God’s plan…Joseph was the one who would save the Israelites from famine…but he needed to be in Egypt to do so.
So, God inflicted a trail…but for His glory.
I certainly struggle with this. I complain if I’m just having a bad day, or the bus is late, or my husband didn’t do something I thought he should (creating my own trials). But I don’t recall really ever thanking God when an earthquake happens, or for when bad things of any kind really happen…and yet that is exactly what we are to do. Praise God always, and especially during what we see as “bad” times and things. Here is a great link with verses and commentary! (It will open in a new tab for you!)
Now, does this mean I should wish bad things….NO!! But our faith is tested during the good and bad. And if we only praise God when things are good, then we will never get through the bad. Again, referring back to Job, His faith was greatly tested during the bad, and yet he always remembered to praise God.
Let’s look at some scripture:
Before I was afflicted I went astray,but now I obey your word. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
~Psalm 119:67, 71, 75
5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11)
Both show trials in a very different way. The Psalm speaks of trials being needed because of going astray and the only way back to engage in trials so that we learn and know the Word of the Lord stands firm and true. Hebrews speaks of trials as discipline or being disciplined. I do agree that everything we do, or don’t do, has a consequence, and God does discipline His children. So, yes, our hardships and trials can come as a result of God because of what we have done.
Yet it is so hard to think of God in this way, but that is because we want a God the way we want one…not the way He is. We always want only the good, and it’s so difficult to think of God in any other way but good, but that is of our own doing. In the old testament, God brought on a lot of hardships. Jesus bridged the gap for us to reach God directly, but it never took away the fact that God will give us hardships and test our faith. And if he doesn’t do it now, how ever will we fight for the kingdom during the final battle?
The memory verse of the week tells us exactly how we are to approach all our trials, hardships, and suffering.
Trials and Temptations
2 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)
Pure joy…we are to consider it pure joy. Think of a blacksmith. All the fire and pounding just to get it right. And when it cools, it’s molded perfectly. God is our blacksmith. He puts us in the fire to pound and mold us to what will be beautiful and bring Him glory and honor.
I will conclude by sharing a passage from Philippians 4 which can put the heart and mind at ease over trials by changing our thinking and always putting the Lord first. It’s not a matter of “if” we will endure a trials, but “when”. So if we prepare our hearts and minds now, then the battle might not be so hard.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
Rejoice in the Lord….always. Treat trials with joy in order to grow closer to the Lord. And remember, God will never forsake us!