– Woodrow Kroll
Trials can both knock us down and keep us down or they can be used to be lifted up in the right way.
Blessings from Trials
It’s important to keep in mind the purpose of trials. They are not designed to discourage us but to refine our faith in a way that nothing else can. In the first place, Peter says “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Pet 4:12) because every believer experiences trials. Even the unsaved go through hard places in life but Peter wrote what the differences of trials are for us is that “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Pet 4:14). Our trials can bring a blessing and blessings are for lifting us up and for looking up toward God. Jesus pronounces, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:11-12).
Building a Steadfast Faith from Trials
James knew all about trials which is why he wrote “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Notice a cause and effect there of trails; tests of our faith produces steadfastness. Steadfastness produces a perfecting in us…and this makes us feel that we “lack in nothing.” It is what our trials do for us, not what our trials do to us that is the difference.
God’s Love Displayed in Trials
The author of Hebrews knew that these Jewish Christians who he was writing to were going through some very severe trials but sometimes our trails are allowed or might even be brought by God because as the author writes, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb 12:5b-6). When my children were young, I disciplined them not to punish them but to show that I loved them. Love and discipline cannot be separated and if we are chastised by the Lord it is because “God is treating you as sons” or daughters (Heb 12:7a) because “what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons” and daughters (Heb 12:7b-8). The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.
Use trials as a blessing, use them to build steadfastness in your faith because God loves you enough to chastise us…and that shows that we are not illegitimate but true sons and daughters of God and that should lift you up.