The Reason for Your Trials
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye illegitimate, and not sons.”
When life is hard, it’s for a purpose. Trials and difficult times in the life of a Christian are an opportunity to find out just how big God is ….
A trial can be small and irritating, or huge and shattering. One can take you by storm, fast and furiously, altering life forever; or it may be a hardship that stretches over months, years, or even decades ….
In the New Testament, the Greek word for trial means “to prove by testing; an event that demonstrates the genuineness of your faith in Christ and refines the quality of your spiritual life.” And several biblical terms for trials are interchangeable ~ suffering, hardship, tribulation, chastening, and discipline …. So, let’s agree on this definition: a trial is a painful experience and circumstance allowed by God to change my conduct and my character ….
Let’s understand the difference here; your conduct is what you do; and your character is who you are. Trials are about what God wants to adjust in the actions you choose, and what He is working in your character to help you choose those actions. And if you’re one of God’s children, you are likely going through a trial right now, “for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth” (v.6). Whether physical, relational, economic, emotional, or circumstantial, it’s the most difficult aspect of your life for certain. However, rest assured that you are not left alone to face it by yourself. No matter what you are going through, God loves you and He will not abandon you. This battle is not yours and you don’t have to fight it alone. God knows and He will see you through …..
(Hebrews 12:5–8) speaks to God’s involvement in that difficult thing. Here is His instruction: “My son, (daughter) despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him” (v.5).
When God moves toward you to make changes in your conduct and character, don’t regard it lightly. Go ahead and do some heavy thinking. Don’t be casual or indifferent about His approach: don’t be thinking to yourself, “I’m getting kind of tired of this” – “I don’t think God knows my limits” …. No matter what painful hardship is yours right now, do not despise or regard lightly how the Lord is working. He is teaching you. And He knows exactly what He’s doing.
When God is allowing something that makes your life hard, remember; “the Lord disciplines the ones He loves” (v.6). It’s like parental instruction. A child’s desires are no guide for healthy growth. But a loving and wise parent knows their child will benefit from certain discomforts and, at times, even a measured amount of pain ….
God’s role is that of your heavenly Father, and for this purpose: “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons and daughters; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (v.7). God loves YOU. And when He saved you, He started a process He will continue until the day you meet Him in heaven (Philippians 1:6). Salvation was just the beginning. Today He is working in you through your trials ~ for your good and for His glory ….
Somethings to ponder this weekend might be: what can you identify as a trial in your life right now? And how would you describe the lessons you’ve learned about God so far in that trial?
Let us pray ~
Heavenly Father, thank You for not insisting that I like or enjoy my times of trials; and even more, thank You for teaching me that You can provide me with joy even in the midst of them, and I can have peace in the midst of the storm. Help my hope to remain in You when life is hard. Please forgive me for those moments when I slip into sadness, self-pity, or doubt about Your faithfulness. I thank You for always giving me those few moments of reflection that I may know, and remember …. for they are enough to remind me that You are always faithful. Please use that reminder to turn what is dufficult into a great confidence in Your closeness to me. And Lord, whatever You are doing in this season; please don’t do it without me. It is in Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
God is with us …..