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Why God Allows Trials

If our God abounds in love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy, then why do bad things happen to believers? Why does tragedy strike? Why do we, as His children have to suffer through trials?

There are a few answers to this question. The first is, that there is sin in the world and sometimes the consequences of that sin have a ripple effect on those closest to it. Even as believers, we sometimes sin and cause hurt feelings and pain to those around us. It is a part of life in this fallen world that we live in.

But there’s another reason why, because we have to remember that God is sovereign. Nothing happens to us or in our lives without His knowledge or that He has not ordained. So then why, why does our Heavenly Father allow this and sometimes even cause struggles, pain, and difficult circumstances in our life?

Both Peter and James tell us why.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be,
you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith,
being much more precious than gold that perishes,
though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory
at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” I Peter 1:6-7

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

God allows and even at times causes, life-changing difficulties and circumstances because He wants to do just that, change us! He wants us to have a genuine faith in Him which is more precious than gold. That we would be perfect, complete, lacking in nothing. This is why Peter and James tell us to count our trials as joy because they knew firsthand the benefits they had received by going through them.

How Trials Benefit Us

Increases Our Faith

As we call upon our Father to help us through the challenges of life or the intense pain that we feel, we can’t help but draw closer to Him and build a more meaningful relationship. We learn more about Him. We see Him not just as the world does, but His true nature and character. Each time we go through a trial and God brings us out to the other side, it increases our faith. We see that we have not only survived it but we have been changed for the better because of it. We realize that He was there with us every step of the way and that we can trust Him for the outcome.

Hebrews 11 gives us a long list of those who lived by faith and the miraculous things that God did in their lives because of it. Here is just a sample.

“By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” Hebrews 11:29–34

There is nothing more life-changing than learning to wholeheartedly put our faith in the mighty and powerful God we serve.

Teaches Us To Rely on God

When we face situations that are out of our control, like when a child is sick and we don’t know how to help them. When there’s a financial need that we have no way to pay or an important decision to be made and don’t know which way to turn. It is during those times when we feel that we are at the end of our rope, hopeless and helpless, that we learn to rely on the Lord and not ourselves. To depend on Him for wisdom, direction, to provide for us, and sometimes, even a miracle.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to
his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will
make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5–6

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

We’ve read these verses before and we believe them to be true however, most of us will not live them out until we are put in a situation where we have no other choice but to turn to God for help. He knows this. He wants us to learn to depend on him for all that we need and not on ourselves or the fleeting things of this world.

We Learn to Persevere

To not give up when life gets hard or the enemy attacks, but to keep pushing forward with God’s plan for our life. When I think of those who have persevered, I think of Peter and the other apostles in the New Testament. Even though they were thrown in prison, beaten, tortured, and in the end martyred for teaching about Christ, they did not stop.

“Then they departed from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. Daily, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:41-42

As we step out in faith to accomplish what God has called us to do, we will encounter trials, obstacles, setbacks, ridicule, and attacks from the enemy. Each time that we choose to not give up but to continue to move forward with the Lord by our side, we become stronger and better equipped for every good work.

Let’s look at David too, he had a trial that lasted for years as he was being hunted by King Saul and his men. During this time, David learned to rely on God and not himself. He learned patience, perseverance, mercy, and doing things God’s way and not his own. All things that I’m sure made him better equipped to serve God and His people as the King of Israel

Makes Us More Like Christ

This leads us to our next benefit because as we go through trials and seek God‘s word for direction and instruction, we discover how to be more like Christ. God’s Word is filled with the wisdom and knowledge we need to handle the different situations in our everyday life.

The Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew teaches us how to have mercy for others, to forgive, how to pray, and how to deal with our enemies. It teaches about marriage, finances, living peaceably with others, how to face evil, and overcoming our anxieties.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them,
I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house;
and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

As we face everyday challenges and go to the Word of God for direction and wisdom on what to do, we build our foundation on the rock of God. We learn to do life His way and not our own or what the world would have us do. And just like David, we become more like Christ and able to serve Him in new and exciting ways.

Allows Us To Help Others

We all know that unless someone has been in a similar struggle as to what we are facing, they do not truly understand what we are going through and how we feel. They can try their best to empathize and sympathize with us, but honestly, they just won’t get it. It is only when we have faced the same circumstances, the same heartache, that we can come alongside someone else and truly lift them up and comfort them.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4

After the Lord has helped us, carried us through, and healed us from the hurt and pain that we have endured. Then we can show that same love and comfort to someone else. To wrap our arms around them the way that Jesus wrapped His arms around us.

Think back, was there someone who helped you through a trial? Someone who had been where you were at that moment, who truly understood what you were going through?

They were able to do that because God had allowed them to suffer through a difficult circumstance and then to be there for you when you needed them. In this same way, God allows us to help others by comforting them as they walk where we have been.

The next time tragedy strikes or difficulties come, we know they will. Remember that this is not a surprise to God. He has brought this to your life for a purpose and will use it to increase your faith, to teach you to become more like Him and to persevere. Then, when the struggle is over and your Heavenly Father has brought you through to the other side, you will be better equipped to serve Him in various ways including comforting others the way you were comforted.

Stay tuned for the next post as we discuss how to walk through a trial with grace.

Faith Lived Out

  • Take some time to think about the trials you have faced in the past. What did you learn? How did God help you through? Did you rely on the Lord right from the beginning or like most of us, did you wait until you were in despair and hopeless?

  • Pray for your Heavenly Father to show you how He has changed you to become more like Him through the challenges you have faced. Then ask Him how He wants you to use the knowledge you have been given to help others.

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