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The Purpose of Trials

311125_forest_path_i Recently I’ve been writing about the trials of life. Specifically those that don’t seem to end. I thought the subject closed but God has put upon my heart the need to share the next level or stage of trials in our lives. Namely, their purpose.

To review, in “The Unending Trials” I shared the calling God puts in our lives in regard to these trials. He’s molding and sometimes rebuilding us through these challenges.

In the post “Thankful for Trials?” I explored four key points to moving from a place of despair to thankfulness for our trials. These truths are so important and crucial to persevering through trials that don’t seem to end. Take another look at them below, and then we’re going to take a look at some key truths we need to trust God’s purpose in them.

1. God is good. First John 4 is all about God’s character and that He IS love. Therefore his motivations for allowing trials in our lives are good as well. He’s literally not capable of a bad motivation. That’s the one thing God simply can’t do.

2. God is in control. All our trials have God’s seal of approval. That one can be hard to swallow, but understanding the first truth I pointed out helps a lot. The story of Job is a great representation of this truth. Everything has to go before God first. If He allows a trial or challenge in our life, He has a reason. And like Job, we may not understand what it’s all about. God simply asks that we trust Him and trust that He has a purpose for it all.

3. God is an equipper. To look at the Bible as a whole is to see a story spanning hundreds of years with a universal message. God loves his children and does not abandon them. He doesn’t just allow a trial in our life and then leave us to fend for ourselves. God has already given us his strength through his Holy Spirit. It’s right there. We just have to make sure we’re functioning in that strength and not our own. That means we need to spend time with God in order to stay close to Him and the source of that strength.

4. God is a redeemer. The amazing thing about all our trials is that God redeems everything. He doesn’t allow them in our lives without a reason. He has a purpose and a plan for each one. Sometimes the focus is on us, other times it’s to do with another person in our lives, like a spouse or a child. He uses them to refine our faith, teach us more about His character, and to bring us closer to understanding what sacrificial love is all about. He brings us closer to the image of his Son, Jesus.

These truths are foundational to our trust in God and acceptance of His plan for our lives and the lives of those around us. It’s easy to only focus on ourselves and forget that the lives AND spiritual journeys of those we love are also interconnected with our own. Sometimes we don’t realize that the trial we are enduring with a loved one is critical to their spiritual maturity or even their salvation.

Let’s take a look at James 1:2-4:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

First of all, Paul is asking the believers to have an attitude of joy. He then justifies his direction with explaining the purpose of our trials. He speaks of perseverance, which in the original Greek translation, hupomone, also means patience.

He further expounds the purpose of trials in our lives as the means to our maturity—to complete our spiritual growth and to equip us so that we lack nothing. If we read between the lines, Paul is saying that without our trials, we are incomplete. Our faith will stagnate. This is his reasoning for the joy, because in our trials our faith matures and equips us not only for this life but for the next one as well.

Our journey through this life is preparation for our heavenly lives where we will be reunited with our Creator. That takes preparation and growth. The amazing part is that God desires this so that we can enjoy and experience Him more fully. Can we wrap our brains around this? That our faith and our trials are intimately linked? Trials are necessary for our faith to mature and for our relationship with God to grow.

This is God’s keen purpose in our trials, and when we hold His perspective in those times of difficulty and challenge, we can know that we are accomplishing through God’s strength and presence far more than we can see or even imagine.

Praying and believing,

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