Trials And Tribulations
We all must endure them and there is no way around them.
What am I talking about? Personal trials. I know I have been
through some real tough ones and failed one big one long,
long ago. I know that no Christian can get into the kingdom,
unless he was saved on his deathbed, without going through
trials and perhaps some tribulations.
First of all, let me say this clearly. There are no ABC's,
no checklist and no 'easy list of ways to get through a
trial' booklets that are going to work 100% of the time.
There are many different kinds of trials, tests and trouble
we must go through. Those looking for a manual on how to
pass a trial, speed up the process so it ends quicker or how
to pass with flying colors if you just follow these steps...
well... you are going to be disappointed. Mainly because in
many trials, as with Job's we are not always given
the reason why we are being tried. Often we just have
to endure them. At times as he did with me, he gave me the
purpose of what he was going to do without telling me how he
was going to do it, many months before he did it. It was via
a trial, but without that Trial I probably would never have
realized how evil and dangerous some of the people I was
associated with were. One thing the Lord did tell me before
hand was this - the best friend you can have is in Jesus
Christ. The implication was, in the future lean on him and
no one else. I knew then that God was going to strip away
some people out of my life and he was behind it and I was
not resist it, but welcome it.
I say this so that you may know one thing. That God is in
control of the 'trial process' in our lives. If you are
going through one, it's because God has either allowed it or
directed it. I say again, if you are going through one, God
has allowed it. Don't get upset with God. Rather try and
find out what it is he is wants you to do, if anything. Are
you in sin? Have you been wandering from the paths of life,
spending too much time with friends and associates who know
not God? Are you too wrapped up in your job, your new ride,
that new home you just bought? Has it been a while since you
really prayed to the Lord? Sometimes our own behavior can
elicit the trial process. More often than not, it is other
factors usually beyond our control. But one factor that many
of us often don't consider is the one I want to talk about
One person in our great Biblical history, testament and the
witnesses that God has left behind for us in our bibles is
King David. Here is a man whom God raised up from nothing to
be King. There was one problem with this. David was not
ready. Going from shepherd to king, this was a big step and
one that he had to be prepared for. This did not take away
from the divine Anointing. David was indeed God's anointed,
but clearly God was going to send him through some tests to
prepare him for rulership over his people. This was in stark
contrast to the way Saul was dealt with. He moved right into
the Crown without those trails. Look at what happened. He
started off OK, but slipped further and further away from
trusting in God and finally lost his anointing and his
David was going to be different. He was going to have to go
through many a trial and tribulation, nearly lose is life,
become and exile, a hunted man and fight many a battle
before he would sit in the Throne. David was going to have
to learn one of the most important lessons one can learn in
any trial. That lesson was the same one that the Lord
relayed to me before he put me through a trial, that being to
lean on the Lord and to not think we know it all or
have it all figured out as we saw with Job's miserable
comforters. How did Solomon Put it?
Trust in the LORD
with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes:
fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
The wise man then adds these important and oft
ignored words quoting this verse.
It shall be health to
The idea here is that such faith in God is good for both a
man's spiritual health as well as his physical health.
and marrow to thy bones.
David had to learn this key lesson. That when the
chips are down, he must learn to trust in God. This is a lesson
he had ingrained in him over years of serious sometimes life
One of David's first trials was surviving the sin of
jealousy. King Saul was jealous of David because he was winning
the praise and the hearts of the people. Once that happened,
Saul wanted to get rid of David. This may not always be looked
upon as a trial by many commentators, but what would you call a
king throwing a javelin at you in order to take your life...
And it came to pass
as they came,
We all know the story, David was a mighty warrior and was
highly regarded by the people. When you begin to rise high and
have a degree of respectability, people will do all they can to
denigrate you, humiliate you and destroy you. In this case, the
king was way beyond normal jealousy, he wanted to kill David and
tried, twice. You know why I never went into politics or went
into government service or tried to rise up the corporate
ladder? I don't like pedestals and don't want to rise high in
man made institutions. Once you do, a thousand people are going
to do all they can to pull you down... so they can stand on it
when David was returned from the slaughter
of the Philistine, that the women came out of
all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet
king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with
instruments of musick. And the women answered
one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain
his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul
was very wroth, and the saying displeased him;
and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands,
to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have
more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from
that day and forward. And it came to pass on the
morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul,
and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and
David played with his hand, as at other times: and
there was a javelin in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the
javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the
wall with it. And David avoided out of his
This is the peril of any person who rises. Kings in
particular. Kings in the middle ages often had to fight many
wars to fend off pretenders and usurpers. It was a constant
problem for men who would be king. But the fact is this and we
Christians must get this right if nothing else. We are destined
for a Throne, a mighty throne and we who are redeemed and are
risen with him shall sit on those thrones. Like David, we are
going to have to go through many trials and tribulations
before we can sit on that throne. Many of us will have to give
up our lives for our testimony of Jesus Christ. This too is a
trial of our faith - an important one. Trials like this are real
and they will come and they do so because of the very high place
God is preparing for us. Keep in mind that the devil and his
host know what God has prepared for us. They have been to
heaven and have stood in the presence of God. God is looking for
David's to sit on the throne, not Saul's. David was tested and
tried. Saul was not.
This is one key reason for our trials in Christ. They
are to teach us and to prepare us and yes, to test us in
preparation for what he has in store for us. But also to make
sure that when we do get on those thrones, we are faithful to
what God would have us do, not to what we want. This too is one
of the important aspects of preparatory trials. They are to
teach us submission to God's will. They teach us to rely on God
and his wisdom and not upon ours. Though we shall be kings we
shall also be subservient to God and his son Jesus Christ. It's
a lesson that we cannot forget.
When we go through personal trials, this is what we
need to always remember. What we suffer here is nothing compared
to what God has prepared for us. Absolutely nothing. It will be
like nothing we have ever experienced.
But as it is written,
Eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard, neither have entered into
the heart of man, the things which God hath
prepared for them that love him.
One of the things we must keep in mind that many of
our trials, they are there not because God hates us or is angry,
but because he wants to prepare us. James wanted us all to
consider our trials a joy!
My brethren, count it
all joy when ye fall into
This is a hard one I think for any of us to understand. For
when we are going through trails, there is nothing joyful about
it... at all! But yet James is trying to relay something here to
us, that these trails are there to mold our character. This is
one of the reasons why David went through what he did, God was
molding his character and teaching him faith among other things.
He knew the prophet anointed him King, yet there he was an
exile, a hunted man and one who could be killed in battle any
day now. Yet he kept faith, he did
not quit and leaned on his God.
divers temptations; Knowing this,
that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire,
David wrote many Psalms when he was going through
those trails. Some of them are preserved for us in the book of
Psalms, here is one when he had fled before Saul and had to hide
in the wilderness.
A Psalm of David, when he was in the
wilderness of Judah.
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:
my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee
in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen
thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness
is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my
hands in thy name. My soul shall be
with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall
praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember
thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the
night watches. Because thou hast been my help,
therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice
. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand
upholdeth me. But those that seek my soul, to destroy it,
shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword:
they shall be a portion for foxes
But the king shall rejoice in God;
every one that sweareth by him shall glory:
but the mouth of them that speak
lies shall be stopped.
Now take a look at that Psalm. Here is a man who has
been run out of the capitol, has is life sought after by the
King and what is his attitude. Did he have a pity party? Did he
have a whine-a-thon? Nope! David went right on to praise God and
give thanks unto him.
Now let me let you in on a secret. God loves it when
we praise his name and give thanks. The devil... he
absolutely hates it. Once we cease to honor and
praise God and cease to give thanks to him, we have handed the
devil a major, major victory. David is a person we need to
imitate when we face trials. His mindset? No matter what was
going on in his life, how hard things were, he praised God,
brought his supplications before him and gave thanks.
No matter the serious issues we face in our jobs, our
families, marriages, our ministries our health, our friendships
or reputations, know that God see's all and wants us to maintain
a strong, unalterable and unshakable faith in Jesus Christ. When
we adopt an attitude of gratitude and a predisposition
of praise, we have taken a major first step on the road
to a victory over our trials and situations.
Let us remember this brothers. Our trails are here
primarily to prepare us. Yes, also to test us as the devil will
stand in accusation over us as he did with Job. But in the
broader sense, he is looking for people who are faithful to him
and have proved it by going through the fires of trial and
temptation and passed the test and kept the faith of Jesus
Christ. He is looking for people who love him and he can depend
on to help run his kingdom.
Trial Unto Death
Though he slay me,
yet will I trust in him:
but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite
shall not come before him.
Job 13:15 should be the verse that any
suffering saint should remember during any trial. Weather it
be in jail for preaching, on a sickbed, standing in a divorce
court with a broken heart as you husband runs off with some
homewrecker, being falsely accused by evil men or whatever.
The attitude of Job here is one that is remarkable in that
despite all that has happened to him and how the devil was
doing his utmost to provoke Job to sin against God, Job
did not do it, even if God kills him, Job was going to
keep his faith in God. This was exactly the test that God
allowed to come onto Job from Satan.
How many of you have
that kind of faith? I mean really?
When trials come your
way, I advise you all to keep Job in mind and realize that God
has a purpose for what he is doing. It may not always be
clear, but he does have a purpose. How did Peter put it?
Wherein ye greatly
rejoice, though now for a season,
if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious
than of gold that perisheth, though it be
tried with fire,
might be found unto praise and honour and glory
at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Job had shown he was passing his trial of faith which
is also a trial of trust. Yes, trust, we must
entrust our souls to God and his word and this is one reason for
many of our trials. That we place out trust fully in God and God
alone. Brothers if you are willing to do that no matter what and I
do mean that - no matter what, you will pass any
test the Lord sends your way, painful and sorrowful those trials
may be. Keep faith with God and he will keep faith with
The following verse reiterates the idea that God is Job's
salvation. Adam Clarke sums up the idea best.
He also shall be my salvation
- He will save me, because I trust in him.
A hypocrite - A wicked man shall never be able to
stand before him. I am conscious of this, and were I, as you
suppose, a secret sinner, I should not dare to make this
appeal. - Clarke
Hear diligently my
and my declaration with your ears.
Behold now, I have ordered my cause;
I know that I shall be justified.
Who is he that will plead with me? for now,
if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.
Only do not two things unto me: then will I not
hide myself from thee. Withdraw thine hand
far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.
Then call thou, and I will answer:
or let me speak, and answer thou me.
How many are mine iniquities and sins?
make me to know my transgression
and my sin.
Job here begins a prayer to God and seeks an audience with the
Lord. Job has prepared his case (ordered my cause) and he is
confident of an acquittal. Job then asks his accusers to step
forward (who shall plead with me). The 'give up the ghost'
part of the passage has caused some confusion with translators,
with varying interpretations of its meaning. I think the Pulpit
Commentary sums it up the best.
"Who is he that will plead
with me?" i.e. against me, contradicting and disproving
what I now so fearlessly assert, viz. my personal integrity.
If there is any, let him stand forth and establish his
indictment. If be succeed in tarnishing my fair name, "I shall
be silent, I shall give up the ghost," feeling that, honour
gone, life itself can have no further charm for me. - Pulpit
The entire section in the Pulpit
Commentary is worthy of a read by all. He lines this
up with many instances in the NT where men of God stood before
magistrates for preaching the gospel and then reminds us of the
words of Paul who said.
Who shall lay any
thing to the charge of God's elect?
In the New Testament, we are already innocent until proven
innocent in God's court because Christ has already paid the price
for out sins!! Amen. The devil may accuse and try us, but we will
always stand acquitted as long as we remain in Christ.
It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?
It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen
who is even at the right hand of God, who also
maketh intercession for us.
Only do not two
things unto me:
Job here continues his prayer and complaint before the Lord. He
asks the Lord to withdraw his hand from him and cease terrifying
him. These were Job's requests. These seem to be made so that he
could better prepare his case before God and do so without the
distraction of his deep sufferings. Once that happens Job will be
happy to answer or speak to God about these matters.
then will I not hide myself from thee.
Withdraw thine hand far from me:
and let not thy dread make me afraid.
Then call thou, and I will answer:
or let me speak, and answer thou me.
How many are mine iniquities and sins?
make me to know my transgression and my sin.
Wherefore hidest thou thy face,
and holdest me for thine enemy?
Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro?
and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
For thou writest bitter things against me,
and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.
Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks,
and lookest narrowly unto all my paths;
thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet.
And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth,
as a garment that is moth eaten.
Job then directly asks, how have I sinned, when, where show me the
evidence. The rest of the passage is all pretty self explanatory.
Job here does not claim sinless perfection, he admits that he
committed sins in his youth for which he incorrectly assumes God
is now punishing him for. He asks why God is pursuing him, as we
would put it today, like the Cops chase a serial killer, what have
I done? is his question.
What Job has done here is to take his case to God and put his full
and unreserved faith in the Almighty. God knows what is best even
if we can't see it and what was best for Job was to silence the
devils accusations against him and also, if I may extrapolate,
ensure that the all the host of heaven knew that Job's love for
God was not just because he was blessed exceedingly, but because
he truly trusted in his God. This was never explained to Job, but
this trial worked in his interest and that of God.
We don't know why we suffer, not always. I can say this, there is
a reason for it. God put me through the ringer before because I
had some really crappy relationships and was determined that I
separate myself from such people. God was most gracious to me and
even warned me before hand what he was going to do. I have
been through a few trials in my life and some of the things I have
learned are these.
Don't get too attached to anything here
on earth. Not your job, possessions, family, friends or career.
Keep a careful emotional detachment from them as though you may
have to walk away from them one day at a moments notice. (Job
Yet never cease to give thanks to God for what he has given you.
Bless God for blessing you and keep a thankful, humble and
faithful (loyal) spirit towards the God that we serve.
Never kick a man when he is down, not even your enemies. Don't
take cheap shots at them, the Lord may see it and become sore
displeased with you and you may have just put your name at the
top of the 'trial request' list; people who just can't wait to
have the Lord deal with them as he dealt with Job.
Take your walk even in days of trial, one day at a time.
Don't get ahead of God and don't anticipate what tomorrow may
bring. We don't know, only God does. God forbid, but some of you
may be hit by a natural disaster and lose all, or may find a
rich Uncle left you a small fortune, or you may find a great Job
in South America or lose the one you have now. Brothers we just
don't know, but whatever happens we should take whatever God
allows into our lives as being for the best, even if it does not
seem so to our finite understanding.
Most importantly, when going through a trial, don't charge
God foolishly, don't get mad at God. Examine your own life
and make any corrections that need to be made, but don't blame
God, he is on your side.
And we know that all
things work together
for good to them that love God, to them who
are the called according to his purpose.
I hope this helps you, particularly the
reader who asked for something on personal trials. The Lord
willing, I will do another section on this in the near future.
God be with all of you in Christ Jesus!