TRIALS - WHY ME?
Deepika Emmanuel Sagar
Blessed is the man who endures trials, because he will receive the crown of life" (Jas.1:12).
"I have uncertainty in my job, I don't share happy relationships at home and I remain in great anxiety throughout the day. I pray to God and worship Him daily; then why has He put me into trials?"
This is a question many of us must have thought of and a situation many would relate to. When we go through trials, we ask God, "Why me?" and "When will I be free?" When we are in distress and uncertain about the future, such thoughts can cause depression if we dwell on them constantly over a period of time. We start questioning God in our prayers and, under prolonged anxiety, become judgmental, blaming God for all the wrong things happening to us. When we dwell too long on such negative thoughts and self-pity, we stop exercising our faith and prevent God from working out His plans to bless us through painful adversities.
Let us look briefly at the life of Job, a man of perfect integrity (Job.1:1), a man righteous in the eyes of the Lord. He had great possessions and the works of his hands were blessed. He feared God who took pride in him. What a blessing to be an object of God's pride! But even then God allowed Satan to test him. All his possessions were taken away; his sons and daughters perished and he was infected with boils from head to toe. What a heart-breaking experience for someone who always loves and reverences God! Job could have turned insane, cursed God and stopped worshipping Him. But this is what the word of God tells us, "Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything" (1:22). He fell to the ground and worshipped, saying, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away" (1:21). What makes a person react this way even when he is in such immense suffering? What makes anybody thank God in the midst of suffering? It is the spiritual strength obtained by feeding one's soul with God's word and by nurturing it with faith. Thus says the word, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established" (Pro.19:21).
Relying On Him
Whenever we experience trials, we tend to think of ways and means to overcome them; we try manipulating things and use all our grey matter in scrutinising the actions of others. This is where we deviate from the word of the Lord. We should always remember that nothing happens in our lives without His will (Eph.1:11). Although we fail to comprehend the mystery of suffering, God has provided us with all that we should know in the Bible, His inerrant word. He expects us to study it, obey it and rely on Him every moment!
Walking By Faith
What made Job stand righteous in the eyes of the Lord that he was blessed at the end? It was his faith. Just as we have faith in our family for their unconditional support, Job had faith in his Creator Father. During times of trials, we need to stand firm in our faith. Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the message of Christ (Rom.10:17). It was by faith that Noah's family was saved, that Abraham obeyed and went out of his dwelling place, that Isaac was born, that Moses left Egypt, that David conquered kingdoms (Heb.11). When you place your faith solely and wholly on God, He takes care of even the smallest thing that bothers you. "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psa.34:8). When we read His word, we get to know His precious promises for us, and the testimonies of the people of faith strengthen our faith even more. At the same time, it is very important that we know right from wrong and take a firm stand for that which is right in the sight of God, because sin takes us away from God's blessings. This makes study of the word even more essential because with the knowledge of the law comes the knowledge of sin (Psa.119:9-11;Rom.3:20).
God Disciplines Us
Like every father, our heavenly Father also disciplines us when we go astray. When we fall into sin, knowingly or unknowingly, one of the ways God disciplines us to bring us back on track is allowing painful trials in our lives. He will never put us into situations beyond our endurance level, because He knows our limitation. "The Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son who receives Him" (Heb.12:5-6). So, whenever you go through difficulties, remember that God who has chosen you to be His own loves you and therefore disciplines you to bring you closer to Himself. Out of all the people around, God chose you to teach you something that would change your life forever and bring you even closer to Him. Isn't that amazing?
Trusting The Lord
When you go through trials, do not crib. Endure it as your heavenly Father's discipline (Heb.12:7). "No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Heb.12:11). The testing of our faith produces endurance and we become mature as believers (Jas.1:2-4). Trust in the Lord at all times for He knows all our weaknesses. The Lord has plans for you, plans for your welfare and not for your disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jer.29:11). Be persistent in prayer (1Thess.5:17) giving Him thanks in everything, for it is His will for you (1Thess.5:18). God never lets down anybody who trusts in Him and places everything into His hands.
Submitting To God
Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you (Jas.4:10). Submit to God and resist the Devil (Jas.4:7) for God's ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts (Isa.55:9). Trust in Him because you are His personal belonging. Seek His wisdom, for thus says the Lord, "Whoever listens to me will live securely and be free from the fear of danger" (Pro.1:33). Amen.