Summary: Adversity, Trials, Problems, Giants, Goliaths are a constant part of every saint’s life. We need to have a fresh perspective on these.
Oswald Chambers writes, "A saint’s life is in the hands of God as a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see; He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says, "I cannot stand any more." But God does not heed; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly." Adversity, Trials, Problems, Giants, Goliaths are a constant part of every saint’s life. We need to have a fresh perspective on these.
I Trials: What the Bible says?
i) Trials are normal: 1Pe 4:12 Trials are a common part of every Christian’s life. Not that we go looking for them but they will accompany us. 2Ti 3:12, persecution is the legacy of every believer.
ii) Trials are disciplinary: Heb 12, talks of the example of the cloud of witnesses, the great witness Jesus (He learned obedience from suffering, Heb 5:8). Someone asked CS Lewis, "Why do the righteous suffer?" "Why not?" he replied. "They’re the only ones who can take it."
iii) Trials are to overcome: Rev 2&3 talk about rewards to overcomers. No trials, no overcoming, no rewards. In Christ we are overcomers, Joh 16:33.
II Trials: The wrong way to respond!
i) Grumbling & Complaining: Against God or his ordained leaders implies lack of trust in a good and loving God. We don’t believe that God is in control, e.g. children of Israel under Moses, Exo 14:11/ 15:24/ 16:2/ 17:3/ Num 14:2/ 16. They relied on sense knowledge rather than faith that came from God’s promises and their knowledge of God.
ii) Discouragement & Depression: Sometimes we don’t speak out but our behaviour changes: we lose heart, lose our zeal, e.g. army of Israel before Goliath (1Sam 17:24)
iii) Denial & Escape: Not facing the trial, sleeping: Jon 1:6, Jonah sleeping while the storm is raging; disciples sleeping in Gethsemane; 10 virgins sleeping while waiting for the bridegroom.
III Trials: The right way to respond!
i) Discern the source: a) Self inflicted: repent and seek God’s grace; b) Enemy: resist and stand firm; c) God: submit and go through.
ii) See from God’s perspective: a) What is God’s will in the trial: what is the lesson to learn? b) What would Jesus do in the situation? c) How can God get the glory?
iii) Thank God for the trial: Jam 1:2, consider it pure joy. Know that you will not be tested more than your capacity 1Co 10:13. 2Pe 2:9 the Lord will rescue you from the trial.
Are you ready to win over trials?
• Expect them – they are normal
• Maturity comes from overcoming
• Respond rightly
• Give God the glory