WHY Does a Christian Have TRIALS?
really know how to cope with the trials of a Christian life. Very few,
it seems, have learned what attitude they should have toward their
Trials—everybody has them! Unconverted people and
converted people alike have trials, troubles and problems! Financial
problems, family problems, frustrations and complexes plague people of
every walk of life.
Do you understand why you have
trials? Do you know what you should do about them? Do you know why God
permits them to occur in your personal life?
Very few, in this age
of unbelief, really know the answers to these questions. But your Bible
reveals the answer —plainly, simply, so a child could understand!
What Usually Happens
notice what usually happens when trials come into the lives of people.
You have probably experienced this yourself, in the past. Notice the
example of the Israelites during the days of Moses.
intervened and performed gigantic miracles to deliver His people from
bondage in Egypt. He opened a path through the Red Sea, and then led
them into the wilderness of Sinai. At this time—after Israel had seen
God's great power—trials began to come.
First, a water shortage
developed. Then, the people grew tired of living on manna—and craved
flesh to eat. These things developed into fullblown trials! The people
began to lose faith in God—they accused Him of not loving them, not
being concerned for them, and they began to
accuse Him of not having the power to provide for their needs!
gripe, gripe—grumble, groan and complain! "Would God that we had died
in the land of Egypt!" the people raved. "Would God we had died in this
wilderness!" they bitterly lamented.
Complaining led to further
mischief, and soon they were plotting to REBEL against Moses and return
to Egypt! "Let us make us a captain, and let us return into Egypt,"
they whispered among themselves.
Obviously, the Israelites did
not know how to deal with their trials and problems! Their trials led
them away from God! As a result, they tempted God, refused to believe
His promises— and died in the wilderness! (Num. 14:11, 22-23.)
this the usual carnal-minded reaction, when trials occur? Don't trials
usually cause people to begin to moan and groan—begin to feel
self-pity—and soon begin accusing God, bitterly assailing His servants,
and even ridiculing His Word and His promises?
The next step after complaining is false accusation—and then comes open REBELLION!
You and YOUR Trials
What about the trials in your life?
do you react to trials, tests and troubles? Do they drive you into a
bitter attitude? Do they make you resentful or angry? Are you following
the same path the Israelites plunged down—the path of complaining,
grumbling, resentment and final rebellion?
Or, have you,
personally, learned why God permits trials to come into your life?
Do you have the right attitude toward them?
Too often we fail to
remember that the experiences and examples given in the Old Testament
were written for our benefit! In I Corinthians 10 we read, "Now all
these things happened unto them [the ancient Israelites] for ensamples:
and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the
world are come" (Verse 11). Paul wrote the Romans, "For whatsoever
things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we
through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" (Rom.
Notice again, then, the example of the Israelites. What was their basic mistake ?
this: Regardless of the miracles God had performed in their behalf,
they lost faith in God and disobeyed His commandments! Lack of faith
and disobedience go hand-in-hand. They hardened their hearts against
God (Heb. 3:8). They could not enter the promised land because of
unbelief (Heb. 3:19).
They heard the Word of God. But "the word
preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in
them that heard it" (Heb.
Can we see the lesson?
Israelites apparently thought, since God was supposed to be with them,
they would have an easy time leaving Egypt. They thought the journey
through the wilderness would be comfortable, pleasurable. Therefore,
when trials struck, they were completely caught
off guard. They were shocked — overwhelmed — surprised beyond belief!
God is with us," they wondered, "how could He let us go without water?"
"If God is love," they queried, "then why does He give us this old
manna all the time?" They could not understand why God let them have
trials and troubles. That was not what they wanted. They wanted the
blessings God promised, but not the trials God
permitted them to experience!
How does this apply to you ?
Your Personal TRIALS
Too few realize the direct parallel between the example of the ancient Israelites and true Christians, today. It is inescapable!
Christians are those who have been delivered—not from physical
bondage—but from spiritual slavery. We have been delivered from bondage
The Israelites' going through the waters of the Red Sea was
a type of baptism (I Cor. 10:1). The Christian baptism, however, is a
spiritual matter. Through baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit, we are
set apart as God's people. We become His spiritual nation (I Pet.
2:9-10). We are purchased with the shed blood of Jesus Christ! (I Cor.
6:20; 7:23.) We become His!
And, like ancient Israel, God has
given us certain wonderful, glorious promises! Like them, however,
there are conditions involved to receiving these spiritual promises—the
twin conditions of faith
God, to see if we really believe
Him—if we really have faith in His Word and His promises—puts us
through trials and tests. The questions in God's mind are: Will we
remain faithful? Do we really believe Him? And, are we willing to obey
Him, regardless of circumstances?
Therefore, just as in the case
of the ancient Israelites, God puts true Christians "under the
gun"—under the whiplash of trials and tests. These tests reveal the
true character, the true "colors" of a person. Is he "for real"? Or is
he just "making believe" he is a Christian ?
Reaction to trials reveals the answer.
Consider this fact, the next time you are undergoing a severe test of faith!
What Is Your Trial?
what area of your life has God been putting you to the test? What is
your trial? Do you feel you've just about reached
the "breaking point"?
Are you about ready to
say, "All right. Up to this point, it was okay— but that did it! Now
I've had it! That's enough for me!" Are you about ready to cry,
"Enough!" and give up— throw God's Word out the window— and reject His
Have you just about "had it"?
It is far too
easy, when trials come, to take our eyes off Christ and stare at the
trial itself. Just like Peter. When he attempted to walk on the water,
he took his eyes off Christ and stared at the howling winds and raging
seas. Fear seized him! Faith vanished, and he began to sink into the
But, unlike the Israelites of old, Peter knew
what to do when trouble came. He cried out to Christ, "Lord, save me!"
(Mat. 14:28-30.) Jesus reached out and caught him and delivered him.
however, God does not deliver us right away. Sometimes He tries our
faith—our willingness to rely upon Him—by allowing the trial to remain
for some time.
In certain cases, God might allow the trial to remain—until death!
in such a case, are you willing to trust God, rely upon Him, and in
simple faith trust Him to rescue you, deliver you, protect you, heal
you, restore you, and provide His promised blessing?
Notice a few examples—a few trials —experienced by some of God's people. Perhaps one of these examples applies directly to you!
family lost their little daughter in an automobile accident. In another
case, the little son died while the mother was away, attending God's
Sorrow and grief are natural. Our hearts go out to
those who lose a loved one in death. But should even a trial like this
cause us to lose faith in God and forsake His Word? Or should such a
trial actually cause us to draw closer to God and learn to depend on
Him more completely?
There are cases of illness, where God for
some reason known to Him alone delays healing. Sometimes the illness—
or the particular affliction—lasts for years! Yet, plainly according to
God's Word, He promises to heal those who put their trust in Him. He
does not promise to heal immediately, when we call upon Him, however.
The time and the way God keeps in His own hands.
If you are
sick, or afflicted in some way—are you willing to trust God regardless
of how long He puts the trial of faith upon you? Are you willing to
believe His promises to the end—even though the answer may not come for
years, or even until the resurrection ?
Are you, therefore, willing to endure in believing faith?
your trouble is financial. Since tithing, you have for some reason sunk
deeper in debt. Do you blame God? Do you call Him a liar since He
promised to bless the faithful tithe-payer? (Mai. 3:8-10.) How LONG
will you trust God? How long will you endure in faith, striving to do
your best to use your income wisely, prudently, and pay off your
backlog of debts? Are you willing to be patient with God, and wait
until He sees fit to bless you?
Remember, God does promise to bless the faithful tithepayer. But you must believe! And you must continue to obey His laws!
more example—what about the trial of those who do not have mates— those
who are separated and living alone because of a divorce and remarriage
situation? In some cases, God may intervene to reunite a particular
couple, even though they have been separated for years. Such a couple
should be deeply thankful for God's blessing!
But what if He
doesn't? What if a person cannot be reconciled with his or her mate for
the rest of this life? Should this particular trial cause you
to lose faith in God, call Him a harsh monster, and bitterly rebel against His Truth?
faced with this problem, have rebelled. Some count a temporary physical
relationship as more important than entering the Kingdom of God as
His very own SON
for all eternity!
How would you decide? What would you do?
is YOUR biggest trial? Stop and think about it for a moment. What has
your attitude been toward it— about it? Has it really tested your
faith—your perseverance ?
Is your trial teaching you to trust in God and rely on Him—all the way? Is it building faith? Is it teaching you patience?
does doubt begin to creep in, does discouragement sneak in, do
self-pity and remorse take over? Do bitterness, hostility and hate
replace the love and joy of God's Holy Spirit?
whatever your trial, God KNOWS it. He knows all about it. And He is
deeply concerned for you, whoever you are! If He wanted, He could lift
the trial off your back in an instant—the very fact that He doesn't do
this shows plainly that He sees the trial is good for you—that you need
it, in order to develop the character of Christ!
God knows your
problem. It is not hid from His eyes! He wants you to commit it to Him
and trust Him with it. He wants you to learn to rely on Him, in
patient, living faith! At the same time, He wants you to continue
growing spiritually, doing your part in overcoming yourself, yielding
to Him, and obeying His commandments.
In due time, He will
deliver you! That is His Word—His promise —and it cannot be broken
(John 10:35; Tit. 1:2). But you must trust in Him—patiently,
perseveringly, with thankful joy, with gratitude and humility!
Remember the Israelites of old! Don't follow them in sour, disgruntled rebellion!
WHY You Have Trials
is a reason for every trial! God is not dead. He is very much alive,
and very much concerned for you! Trials do not mean God has lost
interest in you. Don't worry—you have not been "lost in the shuffle."
God knows every hair on your head (Luke 21:18).
He knows all about you!
why, then, do you have trials? Basically, trials come for one reason:
You are not YET perfect! If you were already perfect, you would need no
trials. But since you still have a ways to go, before attaining
perfection, God gives you trials to help you along!
troubles are usually due to coming short of the mark—that is, sin. We
usually suffer as a result of sin somehow creeping into our life,
deceiving us, and causing us to make unwise decisions. Sin brings
trouble, trials—and eventually, if not repented of, death!
when we stumble into sin, God punishes us to wake us up and bring us to
repentance. When we disobey God, we reap the curses mentioned in
Leviticus 26! When we repent, God's blessings are poured out upon us!
that is not the whole story. Human nature itself is greatly responsible
for many of our trials. It is full of deceit and wickedness—vanity and
hostility (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 8:7). It is full of self!
to help us overcome the downward pulls of human nature, and get rid of
self, God gives us trials. He chastens and punishes and corrects us
(Heb. 12:6). God's chastening is proof of His great love for us! But often the chastening takes the form of a trial.
Why, then, do we have trials?
we need them! They teach us important lessons of faith, humility,
reverence and worship for God! They show us how incapable we are, of
ourselves, of working out our problems! They refine and purge, purify
and strengthen our character! They help us change from being carnal and
inwardly centered to spiritual and outgoing in our concern!
change our character! The selfish dross is purged away! The spiritual
nature of Christ is implanted! In this way we grow to "the measure of
the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13).
what God told the Israelites, our forefathers: "And thou shalt remember
all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the
wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in
thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments,
or no" (Deut. 8:2).
That is the very reason God gives you trials! What has God learned— about you?
Rejoice in Trials!
How does God say you should "take" your trials?
wrote, "My brethren, count it all JOY when ye fall into divers
temptations [trials]; knowing this, that the trying of your faith
worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may
be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (Jas. 1:2-4). Do you count
trials as all JOY? Why not?
Notice what Peter said: "Beloved think
it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as
though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as
ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be
revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding JOY" (I Pet. 4:12-13).
How contrary to human nature!
wrote also, "That the trial of your faith, being much more
precious than of gold
that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be
found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus
Christ" (I Pet. 1:7).
How precious are the trials of a Christian! How necessary—how vital to spiritual growth!
thankful we should be, for each one of them! You should stop and thank
God for your trials! Give Him praise for being so concerned about you!
wait a minute! Trials hurt, don't they? They bring misery, suffering,
heartache and heaviness. How, then, can we ever learn to really rejoice
Of course God does not expect us to consider the actual
trial—the pain or sorrow—as joyful. That is not the point! Although the
trial itself may bring suffering, we need to realize that the
result—the fruit—of the trial is what should cause us to rejoice and be
Trials themselves, while we endure them, can cause
heaviness and sorrow (I Pet. 1:6). The Apostle Paul wrote the Hebrews,
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but
grievous" (Heb. 12:11). How true!
explained, "Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Verse 11, last
part). Notice!—"afterward"! When the trial is over, good fruit is
borne—the fruit of patience, faith, humility, and righteousness.
we consider the wonderful reason why God, in His supreme love, gives us
trials, we truly should be thankful and rejoice! Rather than mope
around shrouded in a cloud of intense gloom, we should rejoice!
"Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,"
the Apostle Paul exhorts. Don't be depressed, disillusioned or
discouraged. Lift up your head, and praise God for His
everlasting concern and mercy!
PRAISE GOD for giving you a character-building trial!
is the attitude you should have! Those who gripe and grumble in their
trials are missing this vital lesson of character development! They are
missing out on the real lessons their trials should teach them.
through your trials, you are becoming more and more like Jesus Christ
in character, in nature, in compassion and love! It is through
suffering ourselves that we learn to have compassion on others who
suffer! We can sympathize with others who have trials, because we
ourselves have had them! We know what they are like! We have been
through them, ourselves !
next time you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself because of your
trials, stop and consider the example of Jesus Christ, "Who for the joy
that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is
set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider HIM that
endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be
wearied and faint in your minds" (Heb. 12:2-3).
many more trials did Christ have than you? How much more suffering did
He go through? He bore the griefs of all people on His shoulders.
Rejected, despised, spit upon, beaten and bloodied, mocked and
ridiculed, and finally, after all that, nailed to a stake and crucified!
Have you ever gone through trials approaching those of Christ?
Consider what He went through, for you—and be thankful!
be thankful for your trials! Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote, "We
must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts
14:22). Remember, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12). Remember, as David wrote,
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him
out of them all" (Ps. 34:19).
Learn to expect trials. Do not be
surprised when they come. Realize how vital they are to your spiritual
growth. Thank God for them—rejoice in them —and commit them into God's
hands, trusting Him for deliverance from them, according to His mercy
by William F. Dankenbring Good News September 1965