Have you ever thought, when different situations come your way that cause some suffering, “why is this happening?” You can become troubled and anxious, become downcast, or feel sorry for yourself. Have you ever considered that it’s actually because God has such a care and love for you that these situations were sent by Him to try you so you can see your sin and be transformed?
Trials are an opportunity!
It takes a lot of work on God’s part to get us to see ourselves. By nature we are full of pride, self confidence, arrogance, superficiality, and self-seeking. God’s intention is that we become meek and lowly in heart as Jesus was. We don’t always see the effect our sinful nature has on people around us when we say or do things. What a tremendous grace it is from God that He leads us into situations where we get light over that!
Often God sends situations or people as instruments of those trials. Because of this, we don’t recognize the trials as being from God. The danger then is that we allow our feelings to take over. We can feel mistreated, misunderstood, backbitten, or neglected and become discouraged or even bitter, blaming people or our situations for our “troubles.” (Hebrews12:15) Our soul can become very active, goaded on by Satan, who wants nothing more than to blind us to God’s grace over us.
In the Apocrypha it’s written, “Do not exalt yourself through your soul’s counsel … You will be left like a withered tree.” Sirach 6:2. God’s intention for us is that we become a fruitful tree, showing forth the virtues of Christ. We need to learn to recognize the trials as an opportunity to overcome our sinful flesh and be conformed to the image of Christ! That is God’s intention when He tries us, no matter what instrument He uses in doing so. Don’t allow your soul to counsel you with human thoughts and reasonings, so that you lose out on these opportunities. Rather pay heed to the Spirit, who will lead you to the truth.
Find your comfort in God
In the trials, it’s very natural to speak to others about them, justifying yourself, and seeking human comfort. Instead, take David as an example. In Psalm 38 and 39 it’s written that David’s friends and relatives had turned against him, and sought his life. They were waiting for him to slip up so they could get him. David said, in all this, he was like a deaf man who didn’t hear, and a mute who didn’t speak; and he didn’t respond. “Because it was You who did it,” he said. (Psalm 39:9) He saw it was a time of testing from God, and he found his comfort and hope in God.
“… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing.” Philippians 2:12-14.
How vital this exhortation from Paul is! It’s essential that we get light about what is in our nature so we can be cleansed from it. We need help to see ourselves. David prayed in Psalm 13:3: “Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.” What is that sleep? It’s that we are self-satisfied, superficial, and have no need over ourselves. God sends us light, the truth about ourselves, and if we love the truth we can gain the fruits of the Spirit; the fruits of righteousness. It’s righteous for us to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. (1 Peter 5:6-7) David writes that God dealt with him bountifully, and was merciful. Can we see the trials in the same way? David was a man after God’s own heart.
All things work together for our good, if we love God. (Romans 8:28) Be slow to speak, and quick to hear, and you’ll receive your comfort from God, and not people. That comfort is the implanted word, which is able to save your soul. (James 1:19-21) This word divides between soul and spirit, thoughts and intents, and joints and marrow. (Hebrews 4:12) It produces life if we obey what we hear.
There is a way that we have to go on in order to come to the life of Christ. Therefore, it’s written, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13. Paul calls them “light and momentary afflictions,” which they are if we see them for what they are. We should never question ourselves or others with the words “Why is this happening to me?” The answer is always, so that God can lead us to a greater degree of glory!