Summary: Life has it's way of throwing trials and testings at us. However, I'd like to tell you that as you depend on Jesus while you face them, your faith will become stronger & you'll be built. If not, you will end up being broken by trials & testings.
TRIALS AND TESTINGS -- SIFTED LIKE WHEAT
Ref: Luke 22:31-34
“ Facing trials with Christ will build you.
Facing trials without Christ will break you. “
As Jesus gathered His precious disciples around the Passover meal that night before He was crucified, Jesus shared some precious words with His disciples. We are considering His conversation with Peter for our meditation today.
Jesus told Peter that satan had sought His permission to sift him like wheat. “Sifting like wheat” is a phrase that most of us connect with immediately, because it signifies the unbearable suffering and unfair agony that life sometimes puts us through. Many would wonder why Jesus allows satan to test believers in the first place.
I’ve heard many people say that they decided to follow Jesus because they thought He would deliver them from all their troubles and sorrows. However, pain, loss, suffering and shame never spare us as long as we are on this earth. Following Jesus just because He will shield you against sorrow, pain & suffering is not a good foundation for your faith. No doubt, Jesus surely will alleviate troubles and meet your needs, but that should not be the only reason to put your trust in or follow Jesus.
Let us now try to understand why Jesus would allow sorrow and suffering in the lives of those who trust Him and follow Him ardently. Trials and testings come for various reasons – it could be (a)to discipline us, (b) it could be the consequence of our sin or wrong choice that we’ve made, (c) it could be because of a generational curse or (d) as we have read in Luke 22:31, Satan may be seeking to tempt and test us.
Whatever the reason for testing, we know that testing is a necessary part of growing and being grounded in deep faith for a believer. Consider this situation, students have to write exams every year in order to be promoted to higher class. If you argue saying why can’t you just promote the child, they’ve attended classes all through the year. It just does work that way! Sure he attended classes for a year , but what did he learn, how much has he imbibed, how much of it has become part of him.... all these and many more questions need to be answered. Hence an exam is the appointed way to evaluate the understanding and learning process of a student.
Similarly, if anyone contends saying they’ve attended church services week after week throughout the year and therefore deserve to enter heaven, it just doesn’t work that way! Testing and proving of our faith is essential in order to qualify to enter heaven. Secondly, we have to pass spiritual tests in order to move on to the next spiritual level.
I read somewhere that Rick Warren, the author of the popular book - ”Purpose Driven Life”, when he lost his teenage son said , “ there’s no testimony without a test.... your greatest ministry will come out of your deepest hurt.” I think they are profound words from a man of great confidence and faith in the Lord.
In the science of metals, we study about ‘tensile strength’. It indicates the resistance of a metal to break under tension or pressure. The more pressure apiece of steel or iron is able to withstand that much more the grade and that much more its price. Even so, God wants us to be strong and steadfast believers. Prov. 24:10 says, “If you faint in the day of trouble, your strength is small.” God does not want you to fail when satan challenges Him about His child’s faith & trust in Him.
When an engineer plans the construction of a building, he makes sure it has a strong foundation, that its walls and windows are well designed, and that in times of earthquake, fire or storm, it should withstand the trauma. If an engineer takes such care for a building how much more does the Lord God our Loving Father take caution and care to build our faith when He created us, saved us and called us! Know this truth in the depths of your heart dear friend, that no trial, or testing can harm you. Bible says in Psalm 37:23-24, that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord..... though he may fall, yet he shall not be utterly cast down for the hand of the Lord will lift him up. The Lord will be by your side protecting you and guiding you as you obey and move in Him.
The difference between a believer going through tough times and an unbeliever facing trials is like walking through a dark passage. The unbeliever has to grope his way through because he has no guiding person or principle. Whereas for a believer, he has the Lord to counsel, to instruct and guide him through the dark road. Jesus is the Light of the world. If He is walking with you, then how easy it is to cross the dark and dreary path.