A Different Way of Looking at Trials
When Christians are going through something hard and we pray or ask for prayer about the situation, our focus is often relief. If we are ill we pray to be healed, if we are having relationship problems we pray for them to be solved and so on. Of course it is good to pray for those things because God wants us to pray about everything that we are concerned about, and to ask for His help. But I think we often miss the bigger picture that God has in mind, of our sanctification (becoming more like Jesus), and we also don’t realise that we can be victorious in the middle of our trials, not just by coming out of them intact!
One Important Word
There is a two-letter word in this passage which is tiny but has the potential to totally change our attitude and outlook!
As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:35-39
In fact Christ was our example for this – he didn’t come into the world by ordering his army of angels in and killing everyone that defied him. He conquered death and the power of Satan by suffering and dying on the cross.
Realising the truth, that we can have victory in the middle of these things
Praying for God’s help and strength, and also wisdom in how to respond rightly
Looking for things to thank God for – ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’ Phil 4:4
Look at how we can adjust our schedule to help balance out the hard things we are going through – e.g. make more time for rest, make sure we are getting quality time with God no matter what else is going on
Read through and study the scriptures to find out how God wants us to respond in the trial. For example, if others have wronged us we need to forgive, and maybe also confront, them. If we are having relationship problems we may need to focus on passages like Col 3:12-15 where it says to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness…
Focus on God’s goals rather than the hardship – he wants us to become more like Christ and to glorify Him, so how can we do that?
Rest in God’s promises, like ‘All things work together for good to those who love the Lord’ Rom 8:28 and trust Him, leave it with Him and not spend time worrying. Also that ‘He will not allow you be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it’ 1 Cor 10:13
Keep heaven in sight – it is our finishing line and it always helps me to remember that one day there won’t be any tears, pain or sin to deal with!
If you would like to read more about going through difficult times, you might want to see the series I’ve written called, ‘When Life Doesn’t Go as You Expect’. Here are the links to the posts, below:
1. Being Prepared for Trials
2. Trust that God has a Plan
3. Hold On to What You Know
4. Prayer Changes Things
5. Take Responsibility
6. Keep Pressing Toward the Goal
7. 10 Ways to Support Christians in Trouble