Sometime ago, a friend and I decided to repel down the face of a 75′ – 100′ cliff. We fastened the lines to a secure anchor at the top, but before either of us decided to trust the line, we each gave it a good tug to test it. The test was to make sure that the anchor and knots were secure enough to bear our weights. The test was the tugging on the line.
Christians face testing times. Sometimes periods of testing are short and others are long. There are periods in our lives when we go without testing at all. Times of testing for us usually occur during difficult situations in life. We usually refer to these situations as trials, but are they really the trial? Should we believe that every negative situation has been brought about by God to test our faith? Granted there are times in the Bible where it is clear that The Lord brought trials upon his people, but again does he bring every negative circumstance in life upon us. Some believe so, but many do not. In the course of this fallen world, bad circumstances will just naturally occur. When they do, are they a trial? I think not. It appears that the ingredients for a trial are a negative circumstance in life coupled with luring words from the tempter, the enemy of God.
For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. (1 Thessalonians 3:5)
The trial is not the circumstance in life, but instead the battle that takes place with our faith as we respond to the accusations brought to us concerning the trial. Many consider an auto accident a trial, but in reality the trial really convenes as you battle against accusations brought to you such as: “If God loves you, why did he allow this?” “You served God all these years and look what he allowed to happen to you. Why didn’t he protect you?” These same accusations or others similar to them are brought to us regularly. It is these words that are the trial: they try our faith. Will we believe them or will we cling to the truth that God is good? Will we be filled with fear and anxiety or will we rest in God as sovereign and in control.
If you had $20,000 in the bank and your car broke down, would it be a trial? If you had no money in savings and your car broke down, would it be a trial? The difference is that in the latter, your faith would need to stand up against words or thoughts of doubt, fear and accusations against the goodness of God. The negative event in life is not the trial, it is the tempter that tries you.
What should you do? Recognize that negative events in life will happen because they happen to everyone. As you enter these times in life, prepare your heart for the battle that will begin to rage. But before it starts, pray to God and tell him that you believe he is good and loving and that you will trust him for strength to deal with this issue in life.
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