Seasons of Suffering


God’s Refining Fire

Do you ever feel you’re being tested? Have you ever thought how much more can I take? How can you hang onto hope when the heat of the trial you’re going through has been turned up another notch? These Keys for Living will soothe your soul as you begin to see how God uses the trials in your life to change your character, purify your heart, and beautifully transform turbulent times of suffering into a showcase of His faithfulness.


Facing the agony of the cross, Jesus was in great physical, mental and spiritual distress. He even came to the point where He questioned the Father three times; asking if there might be another way to redeem us, but there was none. Then, Jesus faced the last, most painful trip to the crucible.

The crucible of God’s refining fire, not out of weakness and defeat but out of strength and faith. Faith in the Father who loved Him. Jesus was able to trust the Father’s trial because He trusted the Father’s heart. His heart of love and compassion. He trusted the Father’s wisdom and understanding You too can trust the Father’s heart of love and compassion. You can trust His wisdom and understanding. You can stand firm in the truth of Proverbs 3 verses 5 and 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”



Quick study guide to definitions, characteristics, causes, and quick steps to solutions, for real life topics, challenges and problems.

What Is the Purpose of Trials?

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

James 1:2-4

Trials are tests of your faith, patience or endurance through the process of suffering – proving the quality or worth of something or someone. Three primary Greek words are translated as “trial” in the New Testament. Each has a slightly different emphasis in meaning, yet they all reveal God’s purpose for trials and suffering.

  • Dokimion . . . proven faith
    A testing trial in which your faith is proved genuine—
    “These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7)
  • Purosis . . . refined character
    A fiery trial through which your character is refined, as gold is refined (implies suffering) —
    “Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12)
  • Peirasmos . . . tested commitment
    A trial or temptation through which the quality of your commitment is tested —
    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)


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God Means It for Good

Wherever he went, young Joseph incited resentment and jealousy. This favored child of Jacob needed refining, and it was no wonder that his brothers determined to do away with him after he bragged that one day they would bow down to him (see Genesis 37:5-11). Joseph’s story illustrates how God smooths the rough edges of our character by various trials and testings that build confidence in His purpose and provision for us.

The sands of abrasion were very real in Joseph’s life, for God used his trials of rejection and suffering and years of undeserved punishment to soften him. Joseph’s self-centered spirit was replaced with compassion even for those who had tried to harm him (see Genesis 45:8-11). More importantly, Joseph learned to trust God. His most powerful pronouncement was made when he told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

“The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

1 Peter 5:10




Do you or do you know someone who has additional questions or requires help?

If so, please choose Women of Faith's other resources on this and other relevant topics (Quick Study Guide, Keys for Living Books and e-Books).

Grace Filled Words:

“When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Isaiah 43:2

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us.”

Romans 5:3-5

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”

Deuteronomy 32:4

Additional Scriptures: 

2 Corinthians 12:10

1 Peter 1:6

2 Corinthians 12:9

James 1:2–12 

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