By: Pastor Anthony L. Scott
One of the prominent themes in the Bible is the universal experience of suffering, affliction, and trials. As we encounter these inevitable cycles and seasons of life, the realization we all must grasp by faith is that God is in control. His mere presence enables us to endure. This is why the Psalmist is able to declare, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
This week’s inspiration will seek to help us understand the reality of trials, the reasons for trials, the range of trials, the remedies for trials, and the rewards of trials.
The stark reality of trials is that they come to everyone. The Bible honestly conveys that they are a part of life. Job 14:1 states, ‘Man, who is born of a woman, is short lived and full of turmoil”. Jesus spoke of trials that his followers would face, “In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In Acts 14:22, Paul exhorts believers that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
Entire books of the Bible are devoted to giving reasons for trials. The dominant themes of both Job and 1 Peter are trials and suffering. In the First Letter of Peter, the Apostle writes that trials have a purpose (1 Peter 1:6-7). He lists three reasons for trials in the Christian life. Trials reveal genuine faith, second trials reveal strengths and weaknesses. Third, trials remove imperfections from our walk with the Lord.
Scripture further illustrates the vast range of trials. The most commonly considered category of trials is suffering and affliction. The prophet Isaiah unfolds this vital truth from God, “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10). Mistreatment is another form of being tried. A perfect example of mistreatment is the Old Testament patriarch Joseph. Joseph was treated unfairly by almost everyone he came in contact with but in the end realized God had a great sovereign purpose for his life. Trials may also come in the form of loss or misfortune. The Apostle Paul underwent the misfortunate disaster of a shipwreck, while none lost their lives, all of the property was lost (see Acts 27). An often overlooked category of trial is prosperity. When times are good and blessing abound we often lose sight of God. Proverbs 30:8-9 says, “Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither property nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
The same God who allows trials in our lives also will provide a remedy for our trials. He will be a source of strength, solace, and ultimately the one who empowers us to triumph. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, God promises, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
There is finally a reward for those who triumph over their trials. Job’s life proves that God will not place more on a person then he or she can bear, He has a purpose for our trials, and will sustain those who look to Him for assistance and help. Learn to trust God and receive the reward that God has reserved for those who endure!