Trials and tribulations are a common part of life in a fallen world and people of Biblical faith are not exempted from it. How can we ‘survive and thrive’ in the midst of difficult, bizarre, and high-pressure situations? We offer Biblical principles that can help turn your ‘cross into a crown
Testings, trials, and tribulations: these are things we would prefer to avoid. Yet, in a fallen world – where bad things can happen to good people and good things to bad people – we need to face realities. Tests, trials, tribulations, and offences will come; Jesus said that in this present world we will have tribulation (John 6:33).
Since the Covid-19 onslaught, God’s people have been under heavy pressure with bizarre things happening to the best among us. Sometimes trials comes through our own foolishness and become a self-inflicted wound; other times we are doing all the right things and yet trouble comes.
What are we to make of all these things? And how can we triumphantly move forward?
While it is easy to fall into platitudes, this article seeks to present Biblical principles. Platitudes don’t work but principles do. While there are no formulas or recipes, application of these divine principles applied to life’s challenges will receive a divine reward. Here are some principles you can count on:
- Immediate download: If you walk with God and trouble hits, expect an immediate download of divine grace and peace in your heart and mine. Isaiah 59:19: When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. When the devil works, you can expect God to work even harder. Since God promises never to leave you or forsake you, expect an extra measure of His presence and grace in when trials come (Hebrews 13:5). The Lord becomes a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
- Know where you stand in God: It is easy to become disorientated in times of trouble, yet it is imperative to know your true Biblical standing in God – and keep standing. You have the perpetual promise of His presence (Matthew 28:20), that all things will work together for your good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28), and that if you persevere in trouble, God will put you in a large place of promotion (Psalm 4:1; 75:6-7). Pass the test, win the prize.
- Patient endurance: When the trial is on-going, understand that God is developing in you the grace of patient endurance. Immature people are impatient people, yet patient people are mature, strong, and exceedingly wise. The Book of Revelation speaks of the patience of the saints and how they honour God in the process. You are being strengthened in the process (2 Corinthians 12:10).
- Mileposts: In an on-going trial, God graciously gives ‘mileposts’ along the way. Like natural ones, mileposts highlight that you are heading in the right direction and getting closer to your destination. During a trial, this author temporarily lost his wallet in the main hallway of a shopping centre. He was not even aware the wallet was missing. Five minutes after the loss, he heard his name being paged. As he walked out of the cafe, a kind man handed him back his wallet. The Lord then said: ‘Just as I am watching after you in this matter, so I am in all matters.’ This was a welcome milepost. Recognise the grace mileposts and thank God for them. You are on the right track.
- Under control: Often times, when you have done everything you humanely can and there is no more to do at present, let the Holy Spirit remind you that the current crisis is ‘under control.’ Rest and rejoice in this fact – God is at work even while you sleep.
- Be strong and courageous: Nobody is organically born strong and courageous. These things come by making a decision to obey the clear commands of God, just as He gave to Joshua (1:6, 7, 9). Paul exhorted the Ephesian church to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). When you are both strong and courageous, you will be able to do things that would otherwise be impossible for the cowardly and weak.
- See the ‘big picture’: It is easy to be focused on the single tree even though God wants you to look on the forest. Hebrews 12:11: Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Learn the divine lessons on offer and you can graduate to the next level.
- Praise and thanksgiving: It is high time that God is glorified, even in and especially during times of testing. We are commanded to give thanks in everything and at every time (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Praise God regularly and liberally (Psalm 150:6), since it and thanksgiving are part of the language of faith. And faith moves mountains. Learn what it means to ‘Sow praises to the heavens and God will rain down blessing on earth.’ Praise and thanksgiving are proven spiritual weapons that will defeat the enemy (2 Chronicles 20:22).
- When all is said and done, keep trusting God: We were made for this. Trusting God is wisest and best thing you can do, even when it does not make sense to the natural mind. Proverbs 3:5-6 are the classic verses on this subject – Trust God with all your heart, don’t rely solely on your rational mind, acknowledge Him at all times and He will direct your path.
- As has been aptly said, tough times don’t last but thought people do. Your perseverance will be richly rewarded.
Trials happen to everyone but those who love and trust God are guaranteed to come out on top.