Does it mean that when we are in deep trial and in deep suffering that God has already forsaken us or that He is punishing us for our sins? Are we promised a flowery bed of ease once we accept Christ and after we have been born-again?
Trials are but a normal part of Christian life. No one can evade them nor escape them. They come as a natural part of daily life’s circumstances. Trials are a significant part of God’s permissive will, to test us and to bring us into perfection. I Peter 4:12-13 exhorts us,”Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy
I PETER 1:7 states, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
What we ought to do is to face our trials squarely and sensibly with prayer and supplications and with trust in God. The Bible says that “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Trial is a part of the Christian Heritage. “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4). Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. ( James 1:12)
The problems we face will either DEFEAT us or DEVELOP us – depending on how we respond and react to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems to perfect our lives. The Bible says that “All things work together for good to them that love the Lord.” If you love the Lord, your problem was sent to you by God for a purpose. Some people react foolishly (by blaming others and some even resort to commiting suicide) and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit these problems might bring.FIVE USES OF PROBLEMSHere are 5 ways wherein God wants to use problems in our lives:
1 . God uses problems to DIRECT you.Sometimes God must light a fire under you to get you moving. Problems often point us to the right direction when we are going the wrong way. Problems often motivate us to change. Is God trying you to get your attention? Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways. Jonah run away from God’s commission and went to Tarshish. He reap a storm, got thrown away from the ship, and got swallowed by a fish two days and three nights, instead of smoothsailing to Nineveh.
2 . God uses problems to INSPECT you.People are like tea bags. If you want to know what’s inside them, just drop them into hot water! Has God tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you? When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.” Look at Job and Abraham as our example. Job never murmured but thanked God in the midst of his loss and suffering with boils knowing that God is able to restore him back some day. “The Lord giveth; the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord”, that was his guiding thoughts. Abraham was promised by God a son to become the Father of nations. Yet later on He asked Abraham to offer this only son Isaac as a sacrifice on the mountain. Did Abraham complain? No. He had a revelation that God is able to raise his son back from the dead. But when they both passed the test, they were blessed by God even greater than before.
3 . God uses problems to CORRECT you.Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It’s likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something …health, money, a relationship… by losing it. David said, “It was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws” (Psalm 119:71-72) . David reaped what he sow when He commited adultery. He even sent Uriah to battle to die and be killed in order for him to legally take Batsheba for a wife, amidst having 500 wives already. He lost the joy of his salvation. He was ousted by his son Absalom and his kingdom was divided and ruined. Yet with deep repentance He was able to gain back the favor of God. His son Solomon by Batsheba was even considered by God to erect His temple.
4 . God uses problems to PROTECT you.A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. Last year a friend was fired for refusing to do something illegal that his boss had asked him to do. He was an accountant and was asked to cheat on the income tax return of the company but refused to do it considering that He is a Christian and could not compromise on it. His unemployment was a problem – but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management’s actions were eventually discovered. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good (Genesis 50:20) . Consider Joseph as an example. He was rejected of his brethren, sold to Egypt for 30 pieces of silver, was imprisoned for a crime he did not make, yet through all these trials and miseries, He held on to God with faith, and God made him governor of Egypt. He saved his own family (Jacob his father, and his 11 brothers) at the end, when the great famine in Egypt took place.
5. God uses problems to PERFECT you.Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you’re going to take with you into eternity. “We can rejoice when we run into problems… they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady” (Romans 5:3-4). Consider Paul and his sufferings,Paul and his sufferings, which built his character – Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, stoned, had a thorn in the flesh) yet all these trials made him stronger than ever. He said in II Cor.
12:7-10- “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Here’s the point – God is at work in your life – even when you do not recognize it or understand it. ROMANS 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.” It is much easier and profitable for you when you just cooperate with Him. It is hard to kick against the pricks.
GOD HAS REAL CONFIDENCE IN YOU Brother Branham, in the following quotes, teaches us how to deal with trials positively:
“When it looks like everything’s gone wrong, God’s giving you a trial. He’s got confidence in you. He don’t have to baby you around. You’re not a hotbed plant, a hybrid. You’re a real Christian. God’s giving you a test, see what you’ll do about it. Amen. No wonder Peter said, “These fiery trials, why, count it a joy. It’s—it’s more precious to you than gold.” And many times we hum and haw, “Oh, well. If I just…” Well, that—well, that’s something God give you to overcome. He—He—He knows you’ll do it. He’s—He’s—He’s put his trust in you.” (VICTORY.DAY.title SIERRA.VISTA.AZ 63-0421)
“You mustn’t question anything to God. “For the footsteps of the righteous is ordered of the Lord.” And every trial is put upon you to prove you. And the Bible said they’re more precious to you than gold. So if God let a few light afflictions happen to you, remember, it’s for the correction of you. “Every son that cometh to God must first be chastened of God and tried,” child-trained. There’s no exceptions, “Every son that cometh…” And these afflictions are done or brought—brought about to see what attitude you’ll take. See, it’s God on this proving ground. That’s all earth is, is a proving ground, and where He’s trying to prove you.” (HEBREWS CHAPTER 4 title JEFF.IN HEB 57-0901E)