Trials are not a random roll of the dice. They are an integral part of God’s providential rescue plan for making all things new. That plan includes you . . . and that includes you going through trials. God is on a mission to restore His image in His people, and part of that process is worked out by taking His people through trials.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
In this [salvation] you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(1 Peter 1:6-7)
So . . . what trials have you been experiencing lately? Are you trusting Him for His good plan in your life, even when you’re smack in the middle of the howling storm winds? Charles Spurgeon is reported to have said, “God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to be confused. If I cannot trace His hand, I can always trust His heart.”
Now, I know that it is far easier to discern the loving and kind purposes of the Almighty in the storms others are going through. We are quick to quote a few Scriptures, provide godly counsel, and offer up our prayers of comfort and support. But how well do we do this when we are the ones pitching and plunging into the troughs of the waves in the midst of the storm? Do we see and accept God’s loving hand as much in our struggles as we do in our successes . . . as much in our valleys as we do in our victories?
The promises of Romans 8 make it clear that our God is using all things—even those things that seem like they will certainly destroy us—to accomplish His glorious purposes and to advance our ultimate good. We are being conformed to the image of Christ, and often it comes through the fiery furnace of affliction. The Heidelberg Catechism beautifully describes the providence of our good and gracious God.
The almighty and everywhere present power of God; whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.
One of the great blessings in knowing that God is in complete control of all things is found in recognizing that we are not. There is no such thing as “chance” or “luck” anywhere in the universe. As Dr. Sproul once told a group of seminarians, “If there is even one maverick molecule floating around in the universe outside of the control of God, we simply cannot trust in any of His promises.” Either God is in complete control of everything, or He is in complete control of nothing.
So if all things are working together for your good, regardless of how bad they may seem today, how should that impact the way you are living? Jesus suffered from the cradle to the grave, and He did it so we could be with Him forever in the new heavens and the new earth, where there will be no more tears . . . no more sorrow . . . no more pain . . . no more death . . . because the old will have passed completely away and the new will have come.
May the glorious hope of that day help us all live through this day with a spirit of peace that passes all understanding, regardless of what trials today may bring. God is restoring His image in every child born of grace, and He is doing it in both the good and seemingly bad providences of life.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!