Tests, trials and tribulations | Back to articles | Articles sitemap |
Life is not easy. In fact that may be an understatement. Life can sometimes be frustrating, cruel and down right exhausting. We have all had bad days; that is simply a universal truth.
Has there ever been a time in your life where it seemed like you were going through problem after problem, trial after trial? Have you ever felt as if you were almost being tested? Well today I want to tell you that that may very well be the case! It’s pretty safe to say that most Christians understand Satan is always looking for opportunities to destroy them and everything they’ve worked for. Did you know however, that God tests us through trials and tribulations? “What’s that Tim? I thought God was a God of love! Why would a God of love test us? We already have Satan coming against us tempting us and fighting us, why does God test us too?”
That’s right you read correctly, God tests us. It’s not my intention to burden you about these trials and test, but rather give you understanding and therefore hope in them. Hope that trials and tests don’t last forever, but actually give us opportunities to exercise, build and solidify our faith. The Word of God, which we use throughout these trials, builds us up and strengthens us. We have hope in knowing that we have at our disposal the word of faith which has been given to us by our creator to use in the very tests He gives us. In other words, all of God’s tests are actually open book tests! All the answers are right there for us in the Bible, we just have to find them and act on them.
Why does God put us through trials? (“The Lord trieth the righteous :”) (Psalms 11:5)
Well first of all the reason God puts us through trials is indeed because He loves us! God allows us to enter into faith combat or fighting so we can see His deliverance and victory over our enemy, Satan. In addition to that, as we are faithful to God, He will allow us greater responsibilities and privileges.
How much we are tested is proportional to how great of a task lies ahead. If a larger test is required for you, it means a larger task lies ahead for you, and God wants you to be prepared.
This reminds me of an old saying that definitely relates to this: “Those who sweat more in practice bleed less in battle.” In this same manner God wants to make sure you are ready for what lies ahead. God wants you to go into battle with a sword not a butter knife.
Before we go on however I want to first make a very clear distinction between tests, trials, tribulations and temptation. There is a major difference between tests/trials/tribulations and temptation. Firstly not all trials come from God. Much trouble and distress will come from Satan in this life. God’s tests or trials are tests of faith. God will test the faith of the righteous, but do not confuse that with temptation. God will not temp us (“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” –James 1:13) and God does not use the devil to teach us. Temptation is a product of evil, and is something to be resisted and defeated.
God will not, nor needs to teach you from evil. Many, many times you’ll hear people say something like “Oh God made me sick to teach me something.” Or “God broke my arm to teach me a lesson.” Then when their arm isn’t miraculously healed by faith they say “Oh God must be trying to show me something else.” This kind of stuff is nonsense and unscriptural. God doesn’t need to burn down your house, and kill your dog, and make you sick, and make you poor, and ruin your life to teach you anything! That is the devil! Make sure you understand this.
Concerning the tribulation of Satan, Jesus comforts us greatly with this: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has overcome the world; He has overcome the devil and every satanic force in the universe! The devil is already a defeated foe. That is why James 4:7 tells us to “resist” the devil. It doesn’t say “defeat” the devil, because he was defeated way back when Jesus died and was resurrected. So it is our responsibility to resist the devil, not defeat him.
Don’t be fooled into thinking God tests us to hurt or defeat us. God tests us because He doesn’t want to put us in a position of responsibility that will be too much for us. That would cause shame and God’s not the author of shame. That’s not God and that’s not His way of doing things.
The tests and trials of God are actually beneficial for us, though when they are taking place it may not seem like it. A failed test will indicate to us areas that we need improvement on; testing will reveal to us where to make improvements when we thought none were needed. Testing will give us a dose of reality, and bring to our attention areas in which we’ve let pride take over deceiving us into believing we were well equipped and perfected in those areas, when in fact we weren’t.
When you were in school you had many tests throughout the year. You were given tests to evaluate your progress. Over time if you passed many tests you continued or advanced through the grades. However if you couldn’t grasp the basics of one thing, you would stay at the level you are at until ready to move on. It doesn’t make sense to move someone on to something more advanced when they can’t grasp (or obey) the fundamentals. This same system works with God; in fact, we are the ones who got it from Him. If we fail a test that God has given us, it is an indicator to Him that we are not yet ready for the greater things He has planned for us.
Know that God has a plan for our lives and sees things from a totally different perspective then we do. Many times God is protecting us from a destructive lifestyle that we would have entered into without his intervention. God expects us to pass His tests with flying colours! Sometimes however, unfortunately for us we don’t. This is why we must work diligently at perfecting our faith. Each test we pass we are growing because we are successfully exercising our faith. In actuality, this entire life is a test. It is a test to see whether we are worthy of true and eternal life in heaven which begins only after we die a physical, bodily death.
The hope in trials and tribulations:
“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)
Trials and tribulations not only strengthen and prepare us for greater responsibilities but also help to develop our character and understanding of the dangers around us and others as well. In simpler terms this is what the scripture above is portraying:
“Tribulation will work and develop your patience. Patience develops character and increases experience. Experience, in turn brings hope. Trials and tribulations will come, however rejoice in them. Do not rejoice “because of” trials and tribulations but rejoice “in” or “while” enduring trials and tribulations. Keep faith and understand that God’s Word triumphs over everything. Stand firm in faith and take comfort in knowing that hope will not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which He has given us.”
The hope that the Bible is talking about here is not the kind of hope that is similar to groundless, unsupported optimism. The hope of believers is divine hope that is blessed and complete. It is assurance of our future according to God’s love for us, which is not only revealed to us through the Holy Spirit but by the death of Christ as well.
Recognize that trials and tribulations are not meaningless and do have their purpose. It has always been a part of God’s plan to develop the character of His children. Understand that it’s through trials and tribulations that our true character is revealed. In addition we will be much better equipped to help those going through that which we have already suffered ourselves.
Finally know this, that throughout all the tests and trials of God, He is rooting for us. Remember what Romans 8:31 says: “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” If God is for us, then it doesn’t matter who is against us, because God always prospers; he always prevails.
Keep hope through trials and test in your life, for usually they can be an indicator that something great is planned for you. Submit to God’s will. Endure trials and tribulations, stand steadfastly in faith, know that God truly loves you more then you even love yourself, He is for you not against you, and He wants you too succeed! This being known “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)
accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior please
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