Life in itself is a struggle and the Christian walk is no exception. Right from birth, man is engaged in warfare and it continues till he returns to the ground from whence he came. survival is all about struggling for both rich and poor, young and old, man or woman, theist and the atheist alike.
Ever since the fall in Eden, man has been plagued with numerous problems and all of these involve doing battle with the forces that be. He battles with sin, the world, the flesh and Satan himself. Job 14:1 says: Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.(ESV).Man struggles to feed, to shelter, to clothe and survive and it goes for both believers and unbelievers alike.We may or may not have a hand in what happens in lives.
To the unsaved, it may mean two things:
- GOD’s judgment;
- As a bait to get him to seek Him out.
Most of the time, the former is so for He is a God who visits vengeance upon generations that hate Him. However, to the believer, this is not so for whatever that happens, be it good or bad, is for the believer’s good. In Romans 8:28 we read: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (NLT)
Whatever the form or manner of trial or tribulation that the believer may encounter in his life, it is never meant to harm or hurt him but to bring to the fore GOD’s righteous purpose for his life. Whether the trouble arises from nowhere or out of our own misdeeds or mistakes it is to ensure a good end.
Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (HCS). God has the believers best interest at heart. As said earlier, we may have a hand in it or not. Job had to suffer such a terrible fate knowing very well he had done nothing that would merit such awful punishment. David on the other hand paid the price for adultery and the murder of Uriah. In all instances, God used those trials to fulfill His purpose. We may or may not understand it but that is consequential to what he intends to do with us.
Our plans are not his plans, nor our thoughts his thoughts; our ways are not his ways and neither is our timing that of his. He does everything in His own time and according to the pleasure of His own will and council. One thing to note is, He does not bring problems upon any child or His or even test but he allows us to go through them for His glorious purpose which oft than not seem incomprehensible to our oft carnally oriented minds. yet through all the fiery temptations and trials he promises to always be with us to the end leading us on and on to a sure victory if only we let him. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to ENDURE it. 1Cor 10:13. Note the keyword carefully: ‘ENDURE’ and not ‘take us’ out of it because it is often meant for our own good. The Greek word translated endure is hoopophero meaning to bear from beneath( a weight) or carry something or burden(load). Those trials or problems are burdens that we must carry or go through, however they may have come about.
Now let us run through just seven(7) of the reasons why we are made to face most of these trials- from a believers perspective.
- Sometimes, they are to prepare us for greater challenges that may lay ahead of us. In this instant we see David, a young shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep. Of all his father’s children, he was the only one to tend sheep and had little respect and regard from the rest of the members of his father’s household- being born out of wedlock and mothered by a harlot. In !Samuel 17:34-36 we read stories of the many perils he is exposed to and his conquest of lions and bears. Many a youth even today, in our time would have thought it wise to abandon that duty charged to us for fear of our lives. Not so with David for he was ready to give his life for his papa’s sheep. Little did he know that those were training sessions for him and that soon in the near future he would be killing Satan himself in the form of Goliath and to rescue the nation Israel, while the king and his armies cowered at the sound of the giants voice. The hostilities and harsh words and scoldings never got to him or break his spirit. Later as king he would be the one to give rest to Israel and would be the benchmark for future kings. What a glorious purpose for David. We can tell stories of Joseph, Jephthah, Moses, Joshua, etc.
- Another reason is for the salvation and deliverance of others. Genesis 45:7, And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Joseph, before this statement i can say for a fact that he had no clue as to what was happening to him. God intended it that way for him. His going to Egypt brought salvation and preservation to his own family and the rest of the world at that time. Perhaps Naomi even at her death never realized that her going to Moab and her bitter misfortune was all because of Ruth, later to marry Boaz the son of Rahab, the harlot from Jerico, and to be listed in the genealogy of Christ the SON OF GOD. Despair was not allowed to have its ugly way with them and GOD’s glory was seen in the end.
- For our Promotion. This is also another reason for our trials. it is to end us up in promotion. 1Corinthians 2:9, However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–. God has greatness prepared for us but He cant just pick us from nowhere and drop us there. We must follow procedure. Due process must be followed. Job 22:29, James 1:12 says if we persevere under trial and stand the test, we shall receive the crown of glory.
- Again, it is for the Perfection of the Saints. Christ had to be perfected through suffering; likewise, we His followers. There can be no shortcuts to this. No pain, no gain, period. Romans 5:3…..we rejoice in our suffering because we know suffering produces perseverance; Hebrews 2:10………should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering; James 1:3-4. If we desire to share in His glory, then we must first share in his suffering.
- As God’s vote of confidence in us. Daniel in the lions den; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego thrown into the fiery furnace. God’s encounter with Satan and his testimonies about Him. God knew for sure Job wouldn’t fail him and the devil know that as well, yet he needed empirical proof. Job stood the test of time and God was vindicated. Job 1:8
- It is the only path to our fore-ordained destinies. As noted earlier, God would not catapult anyone into greatness without him/her passing the test first. In 1Samuel 9, the story is told of Saul losing his father’s camels and being asked to go seek them out. however distressful that was, it led him to his destiny as the first monarch of Israel. Camels as we know them do not move in batches but singles so for them to have gone missing without Saul noticing a thing till after all have left in itself gives credence to the assertion by some theologians that that was an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence.
- Last but not least, it is meant to chastise us and bring as back to the right path from which we may have strayed. In this world of perversion, ambiguity regarding morality, and spiritual corruption it is easier for one to wander of track than for someone else to be converted. when we go off track as we easily and often do, God sends his rod of correction to bring us back. He doesn’t just abandon us to our fate when we err., but uses every means necessary to get us running back to him. He is our shepherd and we the sheep of his pasture and satan our adversary roars like a lion seeking to devour us like the lion did with David’s sheep. This time however, he doesn’t go after the lion like David used to do because we wandered away. He rather uses his rod to chasten and set us right. In Psalm 23:4 it says,….your rod and your staff, they comfort me. The rod is for correction and the staff is for leading, instruction, direction. 2Corinthians 7:8-11; Hebrews 12:5-9.
Our Father knows what is best for us and will stop at nothing to ensure that we have it all. we must however submit to his will in all situations and seek his face and his purpose for with him we are more than conquerors, AMEN.