Rejoicing in Trials

rejoice-in-trialsA few days ago we looked at Abraham’s ever increasing faith in God in spite of the ever dwindling likelihood that he and Sarah would have a child. We saw in Romans 4 that this acount was written for our benefit.

Just a few verses further Paul writes, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Romans 5:1-2 NLT)

By trusting Christ and what he did for us, Jesus makes us right with God. He does for us what we could not possibly do for ourselves. He gives us right standing with God, peace with him and makes us his children. In fact, verse 5 goes on to explain, “For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (NLT)

So what does all this have to do with rejoicing in trials? Romans 5:3 (NLT) says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Paul is tying these thoughts right back to what he just shared with us about Abraham.

Look at Romans 4:20-21 (NLT) again, “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.”

God has promised us full and complete salvation including ultimate salvation from all sin, sickness, death, decay and evil. In this passage he says, “And we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Romans 5:2 NLT) This is God’s promise to us. He has also given us his Holy Spirit as his guarantee that his promise will be fulfilled.

But when we experience trials and suffering we basically have two choices in how we react. Either we moan and groan, “Why me, God? What did I deserve to do this?” And we question God’s goodness, love and ability to fulfill his promises. The second response is to do as Abraham did and not waver in trusting that God loves us and he will fulfill his promises to us. In fact, such faith sees God as so much bigger than any trial or suffering! Another way to view these two responses is that the first one results in our pushing God away, while the second one results in drawing near to him.

Remember, faith or trust in God is a highly relational response. Putting this in terms of Abraham’s situation, he simply took God at his word and acted on it. That’s exactly what God wants us to do when we encounter tirals. He says to us, “Trust me. I’ve got this covered!” And as we trust him, we draw near to him. And in his presence we cannot remain unchanged!

That’s what the passage means when it says that trials “help us develop endurance”–that is endurance in our faith or trust in God. “And endurance develops strength of character” because as we endure in faith and draw near to God, he changes us and makes us like his Son in character.

What trial or tough situation are you experiencing right now that you need to trust God for? Take him at his word that he loves you in spite of that trial and he will fulfill his promises to you. Then watch God change you!

©2009 Rob Fischer