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To know that God works together for good in the life of His people is one thing, but it is another thing to begin to thank God for what He allows in our life. It is good to grow to understand the heart of God in the midst of a storm. Job, Paul, Jonah, and David were faced with distinct trials and struggles and in the middle of their anguish they understood the heart of God. As a matter of fact, James exhorts us to count it all joy when we are faced with different kinds of trials.
Trials that Work us
James 1:2-4 “My brethren, 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 states that trials test our faith, and in the process, work character in our life. Trials teach us how to be content. Philippians 4:11
Trials that Make us
Job 23:10-11”But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.”
You know the story of Job who lost many things in his life – his business, his children, and his health. Job was tested greatly. However, he soon understood that in his darkest hour God was making him. Job said, “I shall come forth as gold.”
Trials that Help us
Jonah 2:1-4 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
It is never wise to go against God’s calling. God will never leave His children but will chastise them. (Proverbs 3:11-12) Jonah’s problem was that he lost his focus, and his vision was marred by bitterness. God prepared a great storm for a purpose. God wanted Jonah to refocus and to return to a life in the will of God. Jonah said, “Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.”
Trials that Break us
Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
When you read the Scriptures you will notice that God is not a respecter of persons, even a person who has a heart for God. As the Word of God states in Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Please note that not all trials are a result of sin. However, David paid a great price and Psalm 51 is a Psalm of David’s repentance. Through David’s storm, and God’s mercy, David realised that God delights in broken people that take God seriously.
It has been said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Trials that Humble us
2 Corinthians 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.”
For any Christian to finish well, the grace of God is key; and the grace of God is given to the lowly. Paul would have never finished what God called him to do without God’s grace.
1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Paul realised when his prayers were not answered the way he wished, that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness; for when we are weak, then we are strong in God's grace through Christ.