"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." - 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)
We all go through trials and tribulations in our lives. Maybe you're having a mid-life crisis, maybe you just got out of or are in a bad relationship, maybe you don't know where your life is heading, or maybe you're not sure you believe in God's promises at all. I'm not going to tell you that I have a straight-up answer for you, because I don't, but I am going to tell you what GOD says about trials and tribulations, but before I do, let's talk about what the difference between a trial and a tribulation is...
A trial is a test, usually of performance. In context of Scripture, it can be said to be a test of your faith (the entire story of the Book of Job could be considered a trial be definition) or maybe your trust (take Moses and the water and the rock from Numbers 20). Either way, a trial is something you have to go through, something you have to complete, often in order to achieve something.
A tribulation on the other hand is a "cause of great trouble or suffering". As said above, parts of the Book of Job could also relate to this as Job did loose everything he had except his nagging wife. Tribulations usually come when least expected and hit you like a semi-truck. They come with no warning and usually with no mercy. The news that a family member has died, a friend who's committed suicide, someone you know getting cancer. Tribulations, like trials, are used by God to restore or reaffirm your trust and commitment to Him.
But what does God actually have to say about trials and tribulations? Where is the hope in them?
Well, according to James 1:12, He blesses the man who has remained steadfast under the trial, because once completed he will receive a Crown of Life. Earlier in this chapter, James tells us to "count it all as joy" that we experience temptation because this is considered a trial of faith.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, He reassures us that NO temptation that is put before us is too great as He will ALWAYS provide a way out.
Romans 12:12 says, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." (ESV)
Psalms 23:4 asks us to remember that though we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, we should fear no evil because He comforts us.
Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that although we WILL have tribulation that we should be in "good cheer" as He has "overcome the world".
And of course He so subtly points out in Matthew 19:26, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Now, the actual context of this verse is Jesus responding to His disciples when they asked who could be saved, but I think that it, like Philippians 4:13 often does, can be applied here as obviously ALL things are possible with the Lord in ANY circumstance. Duh.
These are just a few of many verses in the Bible that give insight into how to deal with trials and tribulations, there are many stories in Scripture that are about these things as well. I often think of the trials that Daniel and his three friends went through in Babylon where they were to be burned alive or eaten alive by lions, yet they stood strong for their Lord. How many of us would have the strength to do that today? Or how about David standing up to Goliath, a literal 9-13 foot giant who could eat him whole, would we do that today?
Through Scripture we know that God is with us at all times, through our trials and tribulations He is always listening and will NEVER leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8). I myself have gone through a few trials over the course of the past 6-7 months, which I believe was always one trial developing as time went on, and to be honest with you I'm not sure if it's over yet. My trial has had to do mostly with my eternal destiny, Heaven or Hell? Philippians 2:12-13 reminded me that working through my salvation with fear and trembling is a good thing as it means the Spirit is working within us. Tonight I was reminded of what the Gospel truly means and it has encouraged and empowered me.
I am deeply sorry that I haven't written on this blog in a while, and I pray that I won't have this long of a hiatus again. I also pray that this will help those going through trials and tribulations right now if not to just encourage and empower them, reminding them that trials and tribulations do end and by the time they do, the Lord has worked in and through you in ways you could not have imagined. Take care, love you all!