Jul 2, 2012
Being a Christian doesn’t mean no more trials.
In fact, God promises we will have trials (John 16:33; Acts 14:22).
Maybe it’s a car accident — or a miscarriage. Maybe it’s a strained marriage — or cancer.
But the point is — it’s a trial.
It’s causing grief — and loss — and heartache.
When we face trials we wonder —
Why am I going through this trial?
Is it OK to ask God why?
Does God tell us why?
God has not left us in the dark.
In His Word He explains His main purpose for every trial.
For example, take James 1:2-3 — where James explains the purpose of —
Every trial we will ever face
We can see that in v.2 —
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds …
“Various kinds” shows James is talking about ALL the different trials we experience — from flat tires to persecution to the flu.
And he says God’s purpose for all these trials is —
The testing of our faith
That’s in v.3 —
… for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
The purpose of every trial is to test our faith — which means to refine and purify it like fire refines and purifies gold.
How do trials refine faith?
Jesus Christ is the only One who can fully secure and satisfy us.
But — this side of heaven our faith is never perfect.
So while we mostly trust Jesus Christ to secure and satisfy us — we also have some trust in other things to secure and satisfy us — like money and comfort and health and career.
And to the extent that we trust other things we are less secure and satisfied than we could be.
So — in great love and mercy God sends us trials to show us how unreliable those other things are — so we take our trust out of them and trust all the more in Jesus Christ.
That’s how trials refine faith.
Secure. Satisfied. Steadfast.
We are more secure — because we trust more in the Unshakable Rock (Psa 62:2).
We are more satisfied — because we trust more in the All-Satisfying Bread of Life (John 6:35).
We are more steadfast — that security and satisfaction make us steadfast as we face temptations and trials.
The purpose of every trial
God has purposes for trials that we will not understand until heaven.
But He has told us the one purpose we need to know —
God gives us trials to refine our faith — to help us see the weakness of other trusts so we trust all the more in Jesus Christ — and have more security, satisfaction, and steadfastness as a result.
(This is also taught in Rom 5:3-5 — “character” means “refined character” — and 1Pet 1:6-7 — “tested genuineness” comes from refining.)
A gift on a silver platter
How do you see trials?
If you are like me — you see them as intrusions, enemies, robbers.
But James says every trial is gift from God — a gift of more security, more satisfaction, and more steadfastness in Him.
Picture a king giving you a precious gift on a silver platter.
That’s what God is doing every time a trial comes your way.
Now that’s not all that God is doing.
In every trial He’s also comforting (2Cor 1:3-4). Guiding (James 1;5). Strengthening (Phil 4:13). Providing (Mat 6:33).
But He’s also giving you a gift — a gift of more security, satisfaction, and steadfastness in Him — as you let that trial refine your faith.
That’s why James says “count it all joy.”
How have you experienced this?
How have you seen trials refine your faith? Do you agree that this is God’s main purpose for every trial? I’d love to hear your comments below — thanks!
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And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
How Jesus Frees Us From Fear (4-Min Video -- With French Fries)
Does God Ordain Every Trial?
Spurgeon's Take On Trials
Facing Problems or Trials?
(Picture is by daveynin on everystockphoto.)