“Who do you think you are?” That’s the question I asked myself as I sat in my study.
I had already cried out to God with all the normal questions, including, “Why God? Why are you allowing this to happen to me?” And, “When God? When are you going to deliver me from this?”
I know that we are called to pray for all things. But if I am being honest, I really wasn’t praying so much as adding God’s name to my list of complaints.
I decided to distract myself from my current woes and dive into the scriptures. And that’s when I had a rude awakening.
Each one of Jesus’ followers suffered persecution. Even the Apostle Peter reminded us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
And that’s when it hit me. Who do I think I am, that I shouldn’t have to suffer hardships or persecution?
Trials are more than simply unavoidable aspects of life. They are part of God’s plan. I’ve learned in my years of walking with Jesus that there are 5 reasons why God allows us to go through hard times.
Reason #1: To Glorify God.
It isn’t always about you. I find I have to remind myself of this simple truth often. Daniel, chapter 3, is the story of King Nebuchandnezzar and three brave men: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They refused to bow before the king and by doing so were sent into the fiery furnace. Nevertheless, they had faith that their God would deliver them and He did. By the act of these brave men they gave glory to God. You too can give glory to God in your hard times if you have a divine perspective
Reason #2: To Offer Discipline for a Known Sin.
A good parent disciplines his children. That’s what my father used to say to me. I never believed him. I just thought he was being mean. But he was speaking the truth. Even the Lord disciplines the ones He loves. (Hebrews 12:6). He wants what’s best for you, even if you can’t see it in that moment.
Reason #3: To Prevent Us from Falling into Sin.
God won’t let a “bad thing” happen that will not ultimately bring you more good than destruction. Many confuse hurt with harm. God’s correction sure does hurt, but it will never harm us. It’s always meant to turn us away from evil and back toward Him.
Reason #4: To Build Faith.
God’s trials are one of the greatest ways to build your faith. In my walk with the Lord, I have found that many of the trials I have gone through were more about changing something in me (an attitude, a mindset, a belief) than it was about the situation. The sooner you can look to God to change you, the sooner the trial will end (or at the very least, not bother you nearly as much).
Reason #5: To Equip Us to Comfort Others.
It’s easier to have empathy for someone when you can relate to what they are going through. Sometimes our trials aren’t all about us. In fact, many are because God needs to break down a coldness or arrogance in us that keeps us from being able to come alongside someone and offer support.
“We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God… He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others.” — 2 Corinthians 1:4
Perhaps today you can look at your trials from a new perspective. Instead of putting your joy on hold until the trial is over, why not take advantage of these trials as an opportunity to mature spiritually?
1 Peter 1:7 “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” — 1 Peter 1:7
God loves you and He wants what’s best for you. Will you trust Him today even in the midst of your trials? If He’s allowing it, it must be for good reason.