The Joy of Our Trials

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

While we are here in this world we will face trials and tribulations. There is no way around it as it is part of the penalty for man’s fall in the Garden of Eden. When man fell to the temptation of the serpent God cursed the serpent and told of his ultimate defeat by the righteous Son of God. (Genesis 3:15) God increased the toil and pain of humankind for all the days of their life and brought death upon them. From dust man was created and to dust man shall return. (Genesis 3:19) God also cursed the ground and it would no longer produce just the good but also thorns and thistles causing man to labor harder for the bounty of the earth. (Genesis 3:18) Since that time until the end of time man and the world he lives in is cursed buy the one who had been cursed, Satan, the god of this world. For this reason trials and tribulations are a way of life here in the world.

No one is exempt and everyone will face their share of trouble. It does not matter if we are good or bad, either way we are living in a cursed world with a cursed god who rules this world. (John 12:31) I believe that there are three things that bring trials and tribulations upon us. Our own individual behavior brings troubles into our life. When we disobey God’s law, man’s law or just plain common sense we bring trouble into our life. Satan himself with the leave of God can bring trials and tribulation into our life. Even when we resist the Devil and live as near as anyone can to a righteous life trials and tribulation can and will come into our life from the community of the world we live in. I do not believe that God, the Father of lights, who gives us good and perfect gifts, brings trials and tribulations into our life. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17) God does use our trials and tribulation to grow us in the faith, to mature our image into that of His likeness, and to strengthen us to withstand the fiery darts of the evil one. It is that we know, that we learn, that in the darkest of times, as long as we look to the light that has been given us, all will work for our own good. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

We are but men filled with our human weaknesses learning to live as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. We have lived our lives thus far trapped in weak flesh while learning to live in the power of the Spirit. It is not an easy task, it is a life long struggle, and we should not detest the resource of a trial in our life which will make us stronger and more secure in the faith. Some soon day we will leave here so let us strive to leave in victory through our faith in Jesus Christ.

The first thing Paul teaches us in our text is that we should rejoice in our tribulations because through our troubles we develop perseverance, or patience. Though we cannot but wish and hope that these troubles go away from us, still they are here and through our patience in the midst we enlarge our endurance. Our tribulation may be of something that has been promised to us but yet has not come. Even as we want it now in God’s perfect timing it may not be right for us to receive it now, therefore we must learn patience and endure without the fulfilling of that promise. We hope for its coming but we must wait for its arrival. “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:25)

Our trial may be of physical illness that also brings suffering. We all have different levels of suffering that we can handle rather easily or with great difficulty. Whichever the case we must not boast of the suffering we are having to endure and fall to pride as if we had accomplished anything. If we are suffering on our own without the comfort of our Lord who suffered more that any man and is well aware of what we are going through, then we have discounted our greatest resource for strength. If we boast of our grief for self-gain or undeserved pity, then we have robed God of the glory and our self of the reward.

There have been men that have endured the greatest of privation, torture, and even death without as much as a word or visible emotion amongst their fellows. They have learned to be patient with their trial and walk in the countenance of the Lord glorifying His name because they live in His hope. This is meekness bringing calm to the spirit that takes its refuge in the Lord. He is our strong tower in time of trial. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10) By our patience we endure through the trial knowing that God’s Word is true and that at the other end all will come together for our good. “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)

Paul teaches us that our patience builds our character which is the fruit of our experience. The experiences that we endure is the proof of the character that we develop as we trust in the word of the Lord. It is by our faith in His word that we obey His precepts and please Him “For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.” (2 Corinthians 2:9) God uses the trials that we endure to proof ourselves that we have through His grace believed on Him and have suffered as He has that we may be receive glory with Him. “And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17)

Our proven character brings us hope, the hope that we have in God’s glory. “And we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2) This is a twofold hope that we have through our Lord and Savior. Upon accepting Him as our Lord and Savior we are justified though our faith. Through this access we have a restored relationship with our Creator, we are one of His children. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) It is then that our faith must be proven by patient endurance of the trials that come into our life. This is the test that builds our character and strengthens our faith. We do this not by leaning upon our own selves in times of trial but looking to unto Jesus. By keeping our eyes upon Jesus we soon find the confidence and live through Him that we can do all things with Him. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Every time we overcome a trial in our life our hope in the Lord is strengthened through our faith in Him who is faithful and true.

The hope we have in this world is but a “wish it would be this way” or maybe as of time of late a fantasy. There is no hope in the words of man. I have never seen a promise that did not falter in the circumstance of time. No matter the intention the promises of man will change as the popular truths bend with the opinions of the present beliefs of misguided hearts. No word of man endures forever through the ages but the Word of God came from the “Ancient of Days” and will stand throughout eternity. “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

Hope for the Christian is not founded upon the passing promises of man but on the enduring promises found in the Word of God. These promises are not given to us based upon anything we have done but because the intention of God is He loves us. He created us and we are His. He redeemed us with the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. We are twice His, by creation and redemption. This is the blessed hope that the Christian has in the security of the “I AM” throughout all time that we will never face the death that we so much deserve. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Durant First Baptist Church, July 14, 2015

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