Why Are Trials Necessary? Why Does God MAKE Us Go Through Troubles? #137
Hello friends, and happy Thursday to you! Today, Lord willing, my daughter and I are headed back from Colorado to Salinas, California, and this episode is being recorded on Monday, May 11. It will likely be a shorter than normal episode, but I can never tell at the beginning, so just ignore such predictions today and in the future. Today’s Bible readings include Numbers 23, Psalms 64-65, Isaiah 13 and our focus passage, which is 1 Peter 1.
Our big Bible question is one that all of us have asked innumerable times – I know I have! Why do we go through trials and troubles and difficulties? The theological answer to that question should be fairly easy, because the Bible frequently covers it over and over. I say should be fairly easy, but in this day and age of ignoring Scripture, it isn’t always easy. Some people have a very hard time with the idea that God sends trials/troubles/afflictions on His people from time to time. A Christian Facebook friend recently posted that it was utterly impossible for God to have anything to do with the current coronavirus crisis because He only does good and helpful things for His people in the New Testament times. She realizes that in the Old Testament God sometime punished or refined His people, but He certainly doesn’t do that anymore in New Testament times. The trouble with that reasoning is that it is absolutely and utterly antibiblical. The New Testament is very clear that God allows and sends trials on His people and that He disciplines His people. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, says the writer of Hebrews, but it helps us in the long run. Romans tells us that ALL things (discipline, blessing, affliction, troubles, good things and bad) work together for the GOOD of those who are called by God. So – when trials and troubles come – and they will – we remember that they are sent by a loving God for our LONG TERM good. God is always playing the ultimate game – the long game. He is not short-sighted like us – He is working things LONG TERM for our good and His glory.
7 Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had human fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but he does it for our benefit, so that we can share his holiness. 11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Unfortunately for us, the practical answer to the question of why we go through trials can be a little more challenging – not because the answer is different, but because of our humanness, I suppose. I know the theological answer to the question of why God allows suffering. I’ve preached on it, podcasted about it, written books on it, and counseled people with it…but that doesn’t mean that I immediately recall the biblical truths and comfort myself with them when I go through trials…oh no. Would that I did, but every time a new trial hits me personally (or my family) it’s like I COMPLETELY forget the biblical truths about going through difficulties and just moan and grieve and wollar about. Maybe you do the same thing?
So – as a reminder for us that are suffering trials, or will soon suffer trials. (All of us, in other words) Here are TEN good things that come out of trials, discipline, affliction, trouble, etc. Note: I am intentionally conflating trials/discipline/troubles and affliction here, because we often don’t know , from our perspective, which one we are dealing with.
- Discipline from God means we are His children – and that comforts us. (See Hebrews above)
- Discipline and trials ultimately produces the “peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11) In other words, it trains us to walk in Godliness and make good choices.
- Trials result in a praiseworthy faith at the culmination of our life, so says 1 Peter 1:7
- Further, trials produce in us perseverance and endurance. In the same way that a soccer coach who runs his players hard during practice helps them to become faster, stronger and have more endurance during games, so does God sending us through trials equip us for life in a better way and protect us from giving up. We learn this in James 1:2-3 “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
- And in James 1:4, we also learn that going through trials ultimately makes us more mature as believers – better able to lead and help others and better able to excel through the storms of life in a fallen world. “And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
- Not only do trials produce endurance, maturity and perseverance, but they also cause HOPE to arise in us – as God carries us through each trial. Romans 5:3-4, “Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.“
- Those who experience the suffering of trials, afflictions and discipline will also experience an overflow of the COMFORT from the Lord. 2 Corinthians 1, 5-7 “5 For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort.“
- In the same way that a watermelon seed sown into the ground will ultimately produce a delicious and wonderful watermelon, our sufferings and afflictions will ultimately produce great and eternal GLORY in our lives. 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.“
- When you suffer for a good reason – for righteous reasons, then Jesus says directly and unequivocally that you will receive ETERNAL reward for such suffering. Matthew 5:10-11, ”
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.11 “You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. 12 Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.“
- Finally, we learn from James 1 that enduring trials will win a crown of life for faithful followers of Jesus. No trial is unfruitful, and neither are they unrewarded. In all ways possible – every, and I mean EVERY trial you go through is going to be worth far more than it costs you. James 1:12, “Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.“
Now – that is a lot of reasons to rejoice in affliction and endure. God is faithful – cling to Him!