This morning’s Morning and Evening runs parallel to another devotional entry last month, Testing Our Faith. Trials play an important role in the Christian’s life. Nobody likes them, but everyone needs them.
How quickly do we turn to God for relief from our suffering? It is good that we do, but if that is all we do, we have missed the point of the trial. Does God hold the universe in His hand? Is He sovereign over every mountain and molecule? Does my situation fall under His jurisdiction? If so, how does this trial fit into His plan?
What are You teaching me? Where is the lesson? How is this trial molding me closer into the image of Christ? In what ways am I weak? How are You strong? Would You show me, Lord?
These are excellent questions to ask God in the midst of a storm. He is gracious and accomplished to use any trial for His glory and our good. We miss the glory in suffering when we fix our eyes on comfort instead of Christ.
Let’s test our focus when the next trial comes and join with Job in saying,
But He knows the way that I take;
when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.1
Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.
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The tested genuineness of your faith…
— 1 Peter 1:7
Untested faith may be true faith, but it is sure to be small faith, and it is likely to remain little as long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: Tempests are her trainers, and bolts of lightning are her illuminators.
When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship does not move to its harbor; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush and howl, and let the waters lift themselves, though the vessel may rock and her deck may be washed with waves and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway toward her desired haven.
No flowers are as lovely a blue as those that grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam as brightly as those that glisten in the midnight sky; no water tastes as sweet as that which springs up in the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity.
Tested faith brings experience. You could not have believed your own weakness if you had not been compelled to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God’s strength if you had not been supported in the flood. Faith increases in quality, assurance, and intensity the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too.
Do not let this, however, discourage those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without seeking them: The full portion will be measured out to you in due course.
Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long experience, thank God for what grace you have; praise Him for that degree of holy confidence you have now attained: Walk according to that rule, and you will still have more and more of the blessing of God, until your faith will remove mountains and conquer impossibilities.
1 Job 23:10