Many of us have experienced a lot of grief and difficulty in the last few years. We’ve lost loved ones. We’ve experienced illness, job loss, and financial strain. About now, you may be wondering how much more you can take. But I do have some good news. God doesn’t waste anything He allows into your life – particularly trials and difficulties.
God knows every loss and heartache in your life, every detail. He sees every need and cares deeply about each one. However, as much as He cares about your physical needs, He cares even more about your spiritual needs. His primary purpose for His children is that we become more and more like Jesus. (See Romans 8:29.) The spiritual and eternal take priority over the physical and temporary. But how does God do the work?
Trials “Work” Our Faith
Let’s consider a physical analogy. If we want to strengthen our muscles we must add “stress.” When we lift a heavier load than our muscles have lifted before, a physical process begins to adapt the needed muscles to the new load. Without stress, our muscles are content with their current size and strength. Add stress, and our muscles begin to change to meet the need.
Our spiritual strength and character are similar. The difficulties of life “stress” our faith. Trials give our faith a work out like heavy loads work our muscles. As we faithfully endure, we grow spiritually stronger. Without difficulty, our faith tends to stagnate. Do you want stronger faith? You need stress. (Also see “6 Steps for Standing Firm on God’s Truth When Everything Around You is Shaking.“)
Trials work our faith. Like using our muscles to carry heavier loads make them stronger, the trials of life give our faith a workout. God will use them to grow and develop our faith so we will be spiritually mature, not lacking anything!
Our gracious God never wastes a trial He permits to enter our lives. If we will cooperate, He will use every difficulty, heartache, and hardship for our good and His glory. (The apostle Peter is a great example of someone who grew strong through trials. Find out more about Peter in “7 Things You Might Not Know about the Apostle Peter” or check out my Bible Study about Peter called “Unshakeable Faith.” See a description and introductory video on my website or check out the book on Amazon.)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4, NIV
6 Ways God Uses Trials in Our Lives
- God uses trials to break our independence and foster our dependence on Him (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
- God uses trials to purify our faith and develop our moral character (Romans 5:3-5).
- God uses trials to test, prove, and strengthen our faith in Him (1 Peter 1:6-7).
- God uses trials to prepare us for His purposes (Romans 8:28-29).
- God works through trials to prove Himself powerful and reliable (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
- God uses trials to prove our faith works (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).
God is not finished with you yet. And He is definitely not finished with me. I know more difficulties lie ahead. Honestly, I wish God had chosen to work another way. But I will choose to trust His infinite wisdom and submit to His refining process. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste any trial or difficulty!
In what ways has God used trials in your life to refine your faith and character? To make you more like Jesus!?