Good afternoon HTC family and friends,
Today, I want to speak to our trials and tribulations, and give us a Biblical Christian perspective, that will enable us to constantly see the Lord, even in the midst of our trials and tribulations.
In an often quoted passage of Scripture, Paul writes, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5). James addresses his readers along the same lines: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete.” (James 1:2-4). Not to be left out, Peter also speaks to the subject of trials and their purpose in our lives: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
A number of things are very clear in regard to trials and tribulations in the life of Christians, as we can see in these verses and indeed from what Jesus taught.
Firstly Jesus, Himself, said that we would definitely face hardship, endure trials and tests, simply because we are His children: ‘I have told you these things so that in Me, you would have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!’ (John 16:33).
Secondly, trials are a great instrument of the Lord, in refining, stretching, strengthening and proving our faith in Him. George Mueller wrote, ‘If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and therefore, through trial, be strengthened.’
Thirdly, trials are one of the seeds of our growth towards maturity as Christians. Our maturity as Christians is not easily demonstrated when things are going well, but rather in the time of testing and trial, for then the true nature and depth of our faith will be tested. My mother always told me, ‘gold is not found at the surface, you have to go deeper to find it. Likewise real faith is like gold, and is found in the deep ground of trial and testing.
Fourthly, we learn and develop the most needed quality and characteristic of the follower of Christ’s life – perseverance – in the seasons of trial and tribulation. Perseverance is impossible to find apart from a season of trials and tribulations.
Fifthly, nothing can come close to the joy we experience when we come through a time of trial – stronger in our faith, and more secure in our relationship with Jesus.
Another lesson I learnt form my mother is this: ‘let your troubles and difficulties, draw you deeper into the embrace of your Heavenly Father. Let these troubles and difficulties thrust you into His loving arms and presence.’
Finally, I consider trial and tribulation, for the sake of Christ, to be the greatest privilege of any follower of Christ. My greatest witness to Jesus, my best opportunity to shine for Jesus is in the times of trial and tribulation that I face: “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5:41)
I pray that you find courage and strength and hope to continue in the face of trials. The Lord is faithful, and you will marvel at what He does in you, through the time of trial and testing: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
Bless you all,