Trials of Many Kinds
Trials certainly do come in many, or various, kinds. They range from spilled milk, flat tires, and long lines, to wayward children, terminal illnesses, and death of loved ones. Though they vary in degree, these many trials still require a degree of faith to weather them successfully. That is the goal, not to survive, but to come out the other side victorious. The Greek word here for “testing” is “Dokimion” which means “the proving” or “that by which something is tried or proved, a test.”
When those children spill their milk on the floor three times in the same day, could it simply be an opportunity to “prove” our faith? To show grace? Might any difficult circumstance be a chance to demonstrate, to one degree or another, our faith to a lost world?
Think about it
What was the last “trial” you faced? What did the way you handled it say about your relationship with Christ?
Why Trials Come
Why bad things happen to good people has perplexed mankind for thousands of years. Right living should be rewarded with smooth sailing, we think, and wrong living should reap hardships. The mechanics of life would be much simpler if that were the case; it would put the power of our “destiny” in our own hands. Yet, as Job found out and as we will explore later, life just isn’t that cut and dry.
While only God knows all, we can find several reasons for “trials” in the Scriptures, most of which are beyond our control:
Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way. Yes, sometimes our difficulties arise as a result of our own sin. As much as we bask in the love of God, we must remember He is also a God of wrath(1) and judgment.(2) Sin does bring consequences, and we should never forget it. God took David and Bathsheba’s first-born son as punishment for their sin.(3) The Children of Israel were condemned to wander in the wilderness an extra forty years because of their unbelief. (4) Ananias and Sapphira (5) were struck dead because of lying to the Holy Spirit.
Think about it
Can you think of examples when someone’s trial (or even your own) was brought about by personal sin?
If someone abuses their body with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or wrong eating, they may then reap the trials of health problems. Entering into sexual relationships forbidden by God will most likely reap marital problems, un-intended pregnancies, emotional trauma, or sexually transmitted diseases. Breaking any of God’s commands, even down to lying and gossiping, bring not only spiritual, but also physical, emotional, and relational struggles, struggles of our own making.
Though it is true “A man reaps what he sows.”(6) This fact makes it too easy to pass judgment on those experiencing trials and tribulations. Somehow we feel better if we think someone’s troubles are the result of their sin, that they somehow deserve what they are going through. On the other hand, Satan loves to oppress people when they are struggling because of their mistakes, making them think God doesn’t love them anymore or making them feel so guilty they assume they can’t seek God’s forgiveness. Nothing is further from the truth. We are told in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
That’s a promise to hold on to.
Next time we will cover other "reasons" for trials.