HOW GOD USES OUR TRIALS
By: Norm Rasmussen
GOD USES OUR TRIALS TO TEST US
God used our trials to make manifest what He knows is already going to happen. Our decisions and actions are not influenced by His sovereignty however. Our decisions and actions are influenced by the circumstances we find ourselves in, and the decision(s) we make and actions we take in those circumstances.
The sooner we realize that “life is one long series of tests” and “life is about choices we make and actions we take” … the quicker we’ll grow to find some peace inside ourselves and more peace with God.
GOD USES OUR TRIALS BECAUSE HE HAS THE POWER AND WISDOM TO DO SO
We sometimes forget (or refuse to believe - especially in the midst of our painful trial, or the trial of another) that God doesn't make mistakes. Because He is all wise and all knowing -- knowing the beginning of a matter to the ending of the matter -- If our trials served no worthwhile purpose(s) to Him, He simply would not have allowed them to be a part of our human experience in the first place.
We may not like the way God does things, but notice He didn't include us in His "planning committee" before He created the human race. God isn't big on asking you and I for advice. He is big on our asking HIM for advice. He feels a bit insulted when we make it a practice not to.
Most people at some point in their life have this question they would love an answer for: "If God is real, why doesn't He clearly show Himself to us?" I can tell you God's answer to that question: "Because it wouldn't be wise of Me."
Bottom Line: Everything God does, and/or allows, is wise. At some point in eternity, that will become abundantly clear. Perhaps it would be wise of US to begin believing such NOW.
GOD USES OUR TRIALS TO REVEAL BOTH CHARACTER FLAWS AND CREATE (GROW) GODLY CHARACTER IN US
Because God has ordained that Christians will co-rein with Jesus Christ in eternity - to a certain degree - they must prove that they can be trusted with authority and power. This life is a training ground to reveal both our weaknesses, and our strengths, regarding Godly character.
Simplistic as it may seem ... without a test, without adversity, we have no testimony of any spiritual, life-changing depth of character.
GOD USES OUR TRIALS TO CHASTISE (DISCIPLINE) US FOR ANY WRONGDOING WE MAY HAVE DONE SO WE WILL BEGIN DOING MORE "RIGHTDOING"
If you consider yourself a Christian, and dabble in certain sin(s) for very long, you're posturing yourself for potential pain. For starters, 1 Corinthians 5:5 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 should soberly wake us up to that possibility.
Hebrews 12:5-11 couldn't make the chastening process much more apparent. If you struggle wanting to know WHY evil people prosper, and righteous people seem for the most part constantly afflicted to various degrees ... it all has to do with God's LOVE and His WISDOM. Evil people are getting their reward in this life. Righteous people get theirs in eternity - for ALL eternity.
Yet God also wants us to realize there are consequences to our decision and actions. Some of us need a bigger spiritual paddle on the rear-end from God than others. We THINK we know the condition of our heart, but God tells us in His Word that we really DON'T. (Most every one of us would be totally content to kill another who severely hurt us if we wouldn't have to go to prison for it, nor have to give an account to God for it. None of us fully know what anger, hate, and lust can do to us, if all consequences were removed).
God wants us realizing that His nature is to bless obedience, and NOT bless disobedience (though His time frame for doing so in both categories is much different than ours). Prisoners realize that although God will forgive them for their sins (spiritual criminal offenses) against HIM if they make Jesus Christ their Savior, it doesn’t motivate our earthly lawmakers, judges, police officers, corrections officers or military personnel to forgive them of that same offense(s). If you break the law, you suffer for it, if caught. God wants each of us soberly realizing that is the way it works, and God makes no apologies for it.
On this planet, any group of people who have no laws to punish disobedience will become a group of people who will quickly either cease to exist, or will eventually come under the control of another group of people who DO punish disobedience. God will make CERTAIN of it.
GOD USES OUR TRIALS TO TEACH US HOW TO DISCERN AND WAGE MORE EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE AGAINST EVIL
Because God is sovereign over all, our human intellect reasons that Satan can only do to us what God allows, and blindly-passively leave it at that. However, just because God allows evil to prosper over certain nations...cities...people - does NOT presume that God specifically wills such things to happen. There is a huge difference between matters God wills and matters God allows. Matthew 6:10 and 6:13 surely should tip us off to that reality.
True Christians, of all people on earth, are hated the most by Satan, and God allows him and his demons certain latitude to afflict his wrath against them. Many Christians don’t give Ephesians 6:10-18 and 1 Peter 5:8-9 and 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (among a few other key scripture passages) a second thought until God allows Satan to afflict (torment) them enough to where they start fully realizing that they need to stop being angry at God, and start channeling most of that anger toward Satan. God gave Christians weapons to use. If they were not in a spiritual battle, it would have served no purpose for God to give them weapons in the first place.
GOD USES OUR TRIALS TO REWARD US
On the Judgment Day, (or commonly called The Judgment Seat Of Christ for true Christians – NOT the Great White Throne Judgment where only the unsaved will be judged and subsequently sentenced to hell), Christians will receive rewards to various degrees for their actions while on Earth. God clearly rewards His people for overcoming trials, as is mentioned a great deal to the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3. Scripture doesn’t reveal much about what these rewards will be, other than to clearly state that it will happen.
GOD USES OUR TRIALS TO GLORIFY HIMSELF
This is probably the most difficult for us to comprehend, but as eternity unfolds, every angel and every human being God has ever created will come to the full conclusion that they were created for one primary purpose: To glorify God. That is why each of us exist, in God’s mind. That is God’s highest purpose for each of us – ultimately why He created us.
Satan subtly conned – persuaded - one third of God’s angels in former times into believing that God had no right to set parameters of safety in the arena of free thought. To reveal to the remaining angels ... and to you and I ... what removing those parameters of safety will ultimately lead a being to is worship and glory to themselves over another. God allowed Satan and those angels who followed the “free thought rebellion” to continue their rebellion to reveal to all creation just how dangerous “free thought” can become if safety parameters are not appreciated and utilized. This might well be what Ephesians 3:9;11 is primarily addressing.
Hell will be full of people who scoffed at glorifying God, just as Satan and all the demons scoff at glorifying God. They ultimately prefer self-glory; self-will. They demand to be their OWN King; they prefer to not obey the King of Kings (who created them) – the Lord Jesus Christ – who is Truth – who is all in all, Lord over all. Their self-dependence drives them to have their right to determine their OWN definition of “truth” -- not accepting what Truth is from Truth’s perspective (which happens to be from God’s perspective … which is really the only perspective that matters, as we approach Judgment Day).
I suspect this isn’t ALL that is being accomplished by our trials, but it certainly addresses some of the most important questions some may have about how and why God uses trials in the life of a Christian.
If you are going through a painful trial right now, the wisest advice I can pass along is to diligently inquire of God what you are to understand about the trial, and/or learn through it. We can safely assume that every time we are going through a major trial, God is trying to get our attention in some fashion. Even if it's a full blown attack from Satan launched against us, God often has things to teach us in these evil attacks.
Here is another couple of links on suffering that you might find beneficial: http://precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/f-j/forsaken.htm
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