It sounds too good to be true—triumph through trials.
It even sounds contradictory.
Trials: the word is pregnant with heaviness:
—pain, “Oh God, how can I stand it; can’t someone do something about it?”
—misery, “Let me die; I can’t go on any more.”
—fear, “Is it cancer? How long do I have, Doctor? Will I have much pain?”
—sorrow, “He’s gone, Oh bitter grief!”
—loneliness, “The house rings with silence. I hear her voice, yet she’s gone.”
—guilt; “I deserve this, God is punishing me.”
—bitterness, “Why, oh God, why, why, why?”
—worry, “How will I ever make it?”
—doubt, “I don’t know; I just don’t have the strength of faith. How can I be a child of God if I feel this way?”
This list is not exhaustive. You can add more. The road of life is beset with so many trials that arise at any moment. The inspired Peter, assures us of this: “Ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations (trials),”I Peter 1:6. You, dear reader; have experienced these trials at many times in many places, the sickbed at home, the septic hospital room, the chilled funeral home, at the job, by the kitchen table, even during the sleepless night.
One does not easily escape the trials. Yet we speak of triumph. That word rings with victory:
—joy, “The Lord is good to us; praise His holy name.”
—peace, “All is well; we know God cares.”
—assurance, “I’m a sinner, saved by grace.”
—confidence, “We do not trust in men, we trust in the Lord.”
—purpose, “God will work all things for our good, that we can better serve Him.”
The two may sound contradictory, yet they are not. Trials are real, but faith enables us to triumph over them. It is not so that faith brings about a victory in spite of the trial, as if they are two opposing forces, and faith wins out. No, faith enables us to have the victory through the trial. That is, the trial is a cause for victory.
The passage of I Peter 1:3-9 helps us to understand this.
The reasoning of the Holy Spirit is as follows.
First, we are begotten by (God to an inheritance: heaven. “God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,” verses 3 and 4.
Second, we are kept by the power of God to attain this inheritance, “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time,” verse 5.
Third, the trial will not last forever, it is for a season, “Now for a season . . . ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations,” verse 6.
Fourth, the present season of trials is necessary. It does not come by chance, “Now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations,” verse 6.
Fifth, this necessity can be seen in that trials contribute to our being kept in the power of God unto salvation. God uses these trials to strengthen us, “The trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ,” verse 7.
Finally, through these trials we receive the end of our salvation, “even the salvation of your souls,” verse 9.
Armed with such spiritual insights, we are able to triumph over the trials of life. We say with the Apostle Peter, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We also “greatly rejoice,” though now for a season we are in heaviness through manifold temptations. That rejoicing is in the Lord Jesus, “Whom, though now we see not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
The heaviness of the trial is overcome by the triumph of faith.
As we examine the Scriptural basis for this triumph, may the Lord speak to each one of us that it may be ours, whether we presently are experiencing these trials or must be prepared to face them when the Lord finds it necessary to bring them upon us.
“Tho flesh and heart should faint and fail,
The Lord will ever be
The strength and portion of my heart,
My God eternally.”