“But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).
Like many other families that enjoy the company of pets, our family once faced the trial of losing a dear friend we had in our dog, Krani. It was a trying time for us and we thank God for the comfort the church brought to our ailing hearts at that time. The compassion they showed touched us greatly and it also helped us to stay strong. Their love also helped us learn from this trial instead of ignoring the teachings that God provided in this tragedy. That is what church family is all about, strengthening one another and edifying us for growth (1 Corinthians 14:26).
All the trials we face must be handled in faith: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Handling trials in faith means that we not only make it through the trials, but that we maintain the attitude of Christ throughout the trial (Philippians 2:5). We must know how Christ would handle it and follow in His footsteps. It is easy to be like Christ in good times but the real test is to be like Him during trials.
One aspect of the attitude of Christ in trials is that He never missed an opportunity to learn. He used whatever situation God gave Him to learn of ways to accomplish His Father’s will. We should always be looking for lessons to be learned in trials. God has given us a promise to work thing in our favor (Romans 8:28). The way any situation could be worked for good is if we will handle it with our focus on God’s purpose. His purpose for us is to glorify His name (1 Peter 4:16) by denying the logic of flesh and live strictly by faith in what He can accomplish through our trial (2 Corinthians 5:7).
God doesn’t want to discourage us nor does He want us to fall away. He provides us with everything we need to handle every trial we face (1 Corinthians 10:13). In fact, He even strengthens us to use these trials to draw us nearer to Him: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3). Satan can use trials to defeat us if we choose to focus on the agony of the trial instead of the pleasure of victory provided through faithfulness.
Although trials are not fun, nor are we happy to face them, we can endure these trials with joy because it is an opportunity for us to reveal the strength of Christ to a weak and dying world. Christ used the trials He faced to glorify His Father’s name by not giving in to Satan’s temptation to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). Not only will God strengthen us through trials, He also gives us an opportunity to use these trying times to grow in our faith as we continue to walk in His footsteps and gain victory over the trials we face.