– Edmund Clowney
The Apostle Peter tells us, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1st Pet 4:12). In other words, it shouldn’t surprise us because God will send trials in order to strengthen our trust in Him and not trust in ourselves or in our ability to “hold on.” It is “when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1st Pet 2:20-21).
Peter seems to focus a lot on suffering in the Book of 1st Peter and writes that we are “guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1st Pet 1:5), so “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1st Pet 1:8). Suffering is God’s will for every believer, so don’t always take suffering as sign from God that you’re sinning or He doesn’t love you because this actually shows that He does love you.
Strength in Struggles
Apparently, Dodge City, Kansas is the windiest spot in the lower 48 states, and living in Kansas, our hardwood trees get bent by the wind a lot. We have pecan trees and black walnut, and these trees take a beating in the spring and in the fall, especially when they bring severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings, but the winds actually help the trees by making them grow stronger because it has to resist the wind with an equal amount of resistance and this causes the trees to grow stronger at their most vulnerable places. Can you see how storms do the same for us? They make our faith stronger in God.
Trust in Him
Imagine you got chased up a tree by a bear. I have a cousin in Arkansas that this actually happened to, and when he climbed a nearby tree, he was always looking for the sturdiest and longest tree branches he could find. He wasn’t about to step out on an immature limb and come crashing down on the bear. In the same way, when we are in peril, we can trust in God and stand firm on His promises, even during a trial. Our faith is not weakened by trials…it is strengthened.
Trees grow the most rapidly during the harshest winds. Isn’t that interesting? I would think that calm winds, sunshine, rain, and putting fertilizer on them would make them grow faster, but we know today that trees grow fastest when the winds are strongest, so as Mr. Clowney said, “Trials should not surprise us, or cause us to doubt God’s faithfulness. God sends trials to strengthen our trust in him.”