TRIALS

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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? The Keys for Living resources 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.”

“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

 

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? The Women of Faith resources 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.”

Purification is a painstaking process. The choicest silver or gold—like the choicest character—undergoes the Refiner’s fire numerous times to attain the highest degree of purity possible. When silversmiths or goldsmiths finally see a perfectly clear image of themselves in the crucible, they know purification has been achieved.

In 1874, Emil Wohlwill invented a refining process for gold that today produces the purest precious metal possible—99.999%.  When God finishes refining His people, there will not be even a speck of imperfection. The uncompromising goal—100%—will be attained to radiate the perfection of Christ Himself.

Facing the agony of the cross, Jesus was in great physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual distress, to the point of asking the Father three times whether there might be another way to redeem us—and there was none. He faced the last and most painful trip to the crucible of God’s refining fire, not out of weakness and defeat but out of strength and faith in His Father who loved Him. Jesus was able to trust the Father’s trial because He trusted the Father’s heart of love and compassion, wisdom and understanding. And you can face the trials He has designed for you because He has the same love for you that He has for Jesus.

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

(John 17:22–23)

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)

 

Truths about Trials

  • Trials are experienced by everyone.

“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

  • Trials have a divine purpose.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame”  (Romans 5:3–5)

  • Trials last only for a while.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17). 

  • Trials are controlled by God.

“God ... will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear”  (1 Corinthians 10:13).

  • Trials come with God’s grace for endurance.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

  • Trials strengthen you in your weaknesses.

“I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong”. (2 Corinthians 12:10).

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6)

God Means Trials 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

  • God uses trials to show you the sufficiency of His power and grace.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness”

(2 Corinthians 12:9 nlt).

  • God uses trials to increase your trust in Him.

“Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

(1 Peter 4:19 esv)

  • God uses trials to break your pride and produce in you a heart of humility.

“So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh.”

(2 Corinthians 12:7 nlt)

 

  • God uses trials to reveal your sinfulness so that He might break the power of sin in your life.

“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back”

(Isaiah 38:17).

  • God uses trials to lead you to a point of personal examination so that He might set you on a correction course.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

(Psalm 139:23–24)

  • God uses trials to drive you to pour out your heart to Him.

“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble.  When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way.”

(Psalm 142:1–3).

  • God uses trials to show you that He hears you and encourages you.

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”

(Psalm 10:17)

  • God uses trials to help you learn His ways.

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”

(Psalm 119:71)

  • God uses trials to keep you from going astray and to teach you obedience.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.”

(Psalm 119:67)

  • God uses trials to produce maturity in you.

“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.”

(James 1:2–3)

  • God uses trials to develop compassion in you.

“The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 

(2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

  • God uses trials to bring glory to Himself.

“So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’ When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’” (John 11:3–4)

Build Faith in the Furnace

  • Face your trial positively. (James 1:2)
  • Persevere through your trial patiently. (James 1:3)
  • Finish your trial maturely. (James 1:4)
  • Pray for wisdom consistently. (James 1:5)
  • Believe in God’s answer confidently. (James 1:6–8)

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  (James 1:12)

 

Facing Trials

  • Thankfulness

I will thank God for all that He is doing in my life. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

  • Confession

I will ask God to search my heart, and I will confess any hidden sin. (Proverbs 28:13)

  • Humility

I will remember that God gives grace to the brokenhearted. (James 4:6)

  • Wisdom

I will saturate my mind with Scripture. (Psalm 119:15–16)

  • Prayer

I will not worry, but pray about everything. (Philippians 4:6–7)

  • Endurance

I will look to the Lord for deliverance. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

  • Trust

I will entrust myself to God, who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)

  • Obedience

I will learn to hear and obey God’s voice. (2 John 6)

  • Praise

I will focus on God’s greatness, not on my circumstances.  (Hebrews 13:15)

  • Service & Ministry

I will look for ways to reach out and help others.  (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

How to Tell Yourself the Truth

  • Tell Yourself:  “I am a child of God.” (1 John 3:1)

 

  • Tell Yourself:  “I may want to sin, but I don’t have to.” (Romans 6:12)

 

  • Tell Yourself:  “When I respond in a sinful way, I am making a choice.” (Romans 6:14)

 

  • Tell Yourself:  “I will not continue to sin.” (Romans 6:1–2)

 

  • Tell Yourself:  “I have the power of Christ in me.” (Romans 8:10–11)

 

  • Tell Yourself:  “My battle has already been won.” (Ephesians 2:6)

 

  • Tell Yourself:  “I will give God total authority over everything I do and say.” (Romans 6:13)

 

  • Tell Yourself:  “I willingly submit to the convicting direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16, 25)

 

  • Tell Yourself:  “I am God’s child. I am led by His Spirit.” (Romans 8:13–14)

How to Handle the Heat

  • God loves you. (Romans 8:38–39)
  • God is with you. (Hebrews 13:5)
  • God understands your weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:15)
  • God cares about your struggle. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • God controls your circumstances. (Daniel 2:20–23)
  • God increases your compassion. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)
  • God is trustworthy. (Romans 11:33)
  • God redeems your mistakes. (Titus 2:14)
  • God gives sufficient grace. (2 Timothy 2:1) 

 

Questions and Answers

Question:  “Aren’t all trials and suffering the result of sin?”

Answer:  God often allows the innocent to suffer in order to display His power and divine purposes.

“His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened [he was born blind] so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’”  (John 9:2–3)

Question:  “How can a God of love allow so much suffering?”

Answer:  God’s ways are always just. He never does wrong.

“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)

 

Key Verses to Learn

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

(Isaiah 43:2)

 

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

(John 16:33)

Key Passage to Read

James 1:2–12

 

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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!

Thank you for your interest and support in Women of Faith. We pray God will encourage, equip, and empower you with His life-changing truth.

 

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