“Take up your cross and follow me,” Christ said. We shouldn’t expect the Christian life to be easy and comfortable because believers aren’t exempt from trials. Becoming a Christian may result in increased trouble and suffering. Peter refers to such hardship as a “fiery ordeal,” and tells us not to be surprised by it. God uses our suffering for His purpose, and He walks through it with us. Hope during affliction is possible when we understand what God is achieving in the situation. Here are four reasons the Christian may go through trials.
1. The heavenly Father sometimes uses painful experiences to purify us. Trials drive us to the Lord and open our eyes to sins that we have tolerated. His discipline is not designed to crush us but to produce “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).
2. God uses suffering to display his power. Trials humble us by revealing our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). They teach us to depend on the Lord for the power to persevere and mature
3. Our suffering has eternal benefits. Earthly affliction “is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
4. The Lord at times allows difficulty as a way of testing us. His goal is to produce increased faith, endurance, and devotion to Him. Rather than complaining, we should exult in our tribulations, knowing that they are producing proven character within us (Romans 5:3-4).
Today, be encouraged and view your next trial from God’s perspective. Though you may not feel it at the time, the Lord is with you. He is your hope and sufficiency.
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are [a]reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. [b]On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 1 Peter 4:12-14
Yahweh, as I go through the trials of life, help me to realize that you are always with me in all things; that I have no secrets from you; and that your loving grace enfolds me for eternity. In the security of your embrace, in Christ’s name Amen.
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