I heard that! Trials fall as certain as confetti rains on Super Bowl champions.
- You don't get the sale.
- Your "friend" talks behind your back.
- Another unexpected repair.
- The dog really DID eat your homework.
- You hear that dreaded word, "cancer."
- Your prayer seems to go unanswered.
That depends on your fundamental approach to life. There is a maxim, popularized by preachers of possibility thinking, that says:
At times God brings you to the end of your rope so that you might discover his inexhaustible power. We learn this from Paul:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV
Reflecting on Paul's words, I see four reasons God allows you to experience trials:
- To help you understand and experience his power. "God raises the dead." Implication? There's nothing going on in your life that is too hard for him. Nothing!
- To remind you that he has delivered you and will deliver you again. "He delivered us." The Christian looks back to look forward. Today may be bleak, but remembering God's help in the past helps you anticipate his help in the future. God will come through for you again!
- To urge you to set your hope on God. "But that was to make us rely ... on God." Christian hope is not wishful thinking, but a confident expectation. God wants you to put your confidence in him because you can't make it without Him!
- To remind you that your prayers matter. "You also must help us by prayer." In God's plan, your prayers help the one who is struggling. Who do you know in a tough time? Stop and pray for them right now.
If it's going to be, it's up to me! Not exactly. God allows trials. God gives strength for trials. God comes through in our trials.