I once attended a church whose pastor believed trials are not from God. I actually had a lively discussion with him in terms of proving God uses trials and persecutions to build a Christian’s faith and love for God. It was not until some time had passed that I realized the pastor believed in the prosperity gospel.
The prosperity gospel convinces Christians that God wants them to be healthy, wealthy and happy in this lifetime. I will not revisit this topic, as I have already written about this before. What I would like to write about today, though, is to make the point that God loves us and that no matter what happens in this lifetime, he will never abandon us. The trials we go through as individuals, and as a church, happen for a reason. We may not know the reason for our suffering now, and we may not know it until we have lived our lives to the full, but God has it all planned one-thousand moves ahead of us. He knows where all the pieces of our suffering fit in the grand scheme of his design. What we have to do is trust him with all our hearts, with all our souls and with all our minds. Then, and only then, will our trials have meaning.
Before Moses died, he provisioned Joshua to be his successor. Part of that provisioning included encouraging words that would carry Joshua and the next generation of Israelites to the Promised Land:
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
In the same way, God will not leave us or forsake us. We may have days when we feel we should have stayed in bed and not faced the world, but God will not give us a trial we cannot handle. He has already counted the cost, and he knows we can overcome. We just need to look to him for the courage and strength. Through his son Jesus, we can do all things, as the Apostle Paul says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). And by the power of the Holy Spirit, God brings into remembrance the words we need to move forward, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).
Whatever you may be going through, whatever trial you may be facing, remember: God is always there listening, whispering; he will never abandon you (Psalms 16:1). You are very important to him, and no one can prevent you from drawing closer to him. His purpose for all of us is for us to rely on him fully, perfectly and without hesitation. He is our God, our creator and king.
No one can take that away from us.
22 thoughts on “Our Trials Have Meaning”
I agree with you in general, but have one objection to your wording. While the Bille does describe God sending trials to people, I believe that Satan is the source of most of our trials. What God expects of us is to see Him in the trial, not Satan. So, if I think of the trial as coming from God, that will help me focus on Him.
I have a hard time believing God would give me cancer just to see my reaction.
Mike, God is amazing, and I think that is clear. He truly wants good to be upon us Christians regardless of our plight. I think, however, when it comes to trials, we need to look at trials from God’s perspective. Satan is constantly presenting himself to God’s throne accusing us of wrongdoing, which is his prerogative, since he is a son of God (Job 1). Of course, God looks at the accusation and judges based on the evidence. And the only way to do this is to try the accusation. This consists of bringing trials upon Christians. These trials may be anything as simply as a overcoming a habit to fighting a physical condition. If God can create the universe and everything in it, how difficult is it for him to use cancer to bring others to him? The whole point being, is that he wants us to have a relationship with him. He cannot do that if we are off thinking about other things than his will. God uses trials to draw us closer to him. And it does not seem so bad when we have eternity as our ultimate goal.
First, a minor issue. You wrote: since he is a son of God (Job 1). The Hebrew reading is: Now came a day when came the sons of God present to themselves before Yhwh. And came also ha-Satan among them. The ha-Satan was the prosecuting attorney charged with presenting what he found against people. It is best translated as Adversary or Accuser. In Jewish tradition, ha-Satan was not Lucifer/the Devil as we Christians have presented him and as Jews did by the First Century. Most importantly, ha-Satan is not a son of God in Job or in 1 Kings 2:19-23, Isaiah ch 6, or in Psalm 82. He is an employee is the best way for us to think of him. The Father of Lies/the Devil was cast out of Heaven.
Next, If God holds a trial on my worth, or yours, we will both be thrown in the pit because no matter how wonderful our acts, thoughts, and presentations, we are covered in sin. Even the best things I have done are covered in sin.Unless my defense attorney is the Messiah/Son of God/Yeshua/Jesus/Son of Man, I have no chance.
God does not need ha-Satan to tell him what I have done, God knows EVERYTHING. If I should develop cancer in my future, God knows my reaction because He has seen it, He knows because He sees the future to the very end. His creation is complete in that He spoke the Final Act and the Final Words.
I suspect we will have to agree to disagree.
Psalm 119v65-73 says a LOT. Pity that pastor didn’t know his Bible. But many don’t.
A well argued, acutely relevant post and a joy to read.
Been in an extreme situation for twenty years. And I’m a totally different man by now, can say from personal experience how right you are.
This is one of my favorite Psalms. Psalms 6 is also a favorite of mine that has brought given me courage during those times of trial.
Great post. I am going to be exploring some of these types of questionable spiritual theories in some posts as I think it will help me to think them through. I appreciate your writing about these issues. I have noticed that those who promote ideas connected to the prosperity message will make statements such as “Well, the God I know wouldn’t…” and then insert whatever they think God wouldn’t do (allow suffering, etc). This always strikes me as odd, as the Bible is chock full of examples of times that God allowed, or even appointed, individuals who did bad things to His chosen people. All of it was for a purpose. We aren’t privy to the entire plan. We have a place and a purpose within the Plan. I am grateful for that!
I wish you all the best with your writing, Abe. Writing through theological problems has helped me immensely, which I am sure will help you as well. And seeing that you are reading your bible, it is also awesome that you are keeping God at the forefront of your learning! Now, you have touched on something that really struck me. You mentioned something I have heard as well, “The God I know wouldn’t…” And to that I say, it could be that the God of those people, who say this, is not the same God I know from the bible; the one who used the Babylonians to chastise Israel for their idolatry; or the one who had broken David’s kingdom in two due to David’s adultery; or even more so, the one who had put Jesus on the cross. Because if the God they know wouldn’t do such a thing, then they would have to admit the God they worship is not the same God of the bible who did cause Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion. After all, their God would not allow suffering; and who better not to suffer than God’s own son, Jesus. Thank you for your incredibly deep insight. Blessings always!
I’d say that is a great way to write! Thank you for your writings. Many blessings to you and yours as well.
I much appreciate your thoughts, Damon!
I appreciate yours as well Jack. I enjoy sharing experiences and thoughts. I also enjoy reading the words of people across the world. It is nice to take the messages that people share into my own life. Good stuff.
Spot on, Jack, and solidly expressed. Much appreciated XXXXXX
God’s inspiration is quite a thing when it grabs hold! 🙂
I can testify…Always, always, always there is a lesson to our trials and if we surrender in whole those lessons become clear. For me it took a lifetime, but I found my answers in Christ Jesus and His word. Clearly and without question, I found my answers.
Doing all things through Christ who strengthens us. Trials then have meaning, Vicki! God bless you!
This is what all “pastors” should be proclaiming. Thanks.
Sometimes I’m never quite sure how to write something that is on my mind other than to write it at face value. Blessings!
Thanks for another timely message Jack. Every Blessing!!
Thanks for the comment! God bless!