Sweet Trials

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” Isa. 43:2

Are trials sweet in your life? They should be according to Eph. 5:20 which instructs us to give thanks for all things at all times. I know that is easier said than done, but that is what it says.

If you look at the stories of the Bible you find that trials were a regular part of the growth process that God took the people through.

Apparently God knew what He was doing, for they came forth as pure gold and the better for it.

For the three worthies in the fiery furnace, they only lost the cords that were artificially binding them. Nothing else was adversely affected. Not only that, as a result of their living testimony of God’s protecting power, the reigning King, Nebuchadnezzar, came to know the power of God in a way that would not have been possible otherwise.

The same could be said of other worthies mentioned in the Bible.

I believe the same is true for people in our day. Think of all the people who have come to know God as a result of some trial. Think of the people who came back from a dread sickness seeking after God for the first time.

The trials were sweet because (1) it provided time to consider their precarious spiritual condition; (2) the trial also led the person to become anxious about their own condition; (3) it caused them to pray more earnestly than before; (4) it brought about a life-changing encounter with God. Truly the trial was sweet.

The same could be said about other situations as well. That doesn’t mean that all trials can be understood, or are necessarily seen as sweet by the naked eye. However, trusting in God and claiming His promise, we can believe it to be so.

When we are in heaven and can ask about everything that went on down here, we are going to realize far better than we do now, that God ordered ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES of our life, EVEN the UNTOWARD ones.

So trials ARE sweet!

Notice what Francis Ridley Havergal, the writer of many hymns, said: “Pain, as to God’s own children, is truly and really, only blessing in disguise. It is but His chiseling, one of His graving tools, producing the likeness to Jesus for which we long. I never yet came across a suffering (real) Christian who could not thank Him for pain! Is not this a strong and comforting fact! I do not say that they always do so during the very moments of keenest pain, though much more often than not I think they are able to do this; but, certainly, they do deliberately praise Him for it afterwards. I think one must pass through it for oneself before one can fully realize the actual blessedness of suffering; meanwhile, you may well take the testimony of those who have.”

This one comes from William Chalmers Burns who was so successful as a revivalist in the UK, Canada and China: “How sweet the trials of a Christian are when he meets with Jesus in them, and feels that the Lord is making them a means of purging away his dross, and taking away all his sin. The believer’s trials are like the fiery furnace to the three children of Israel at Babylon, which burned off their bands, but touched not a hair of their heads. Seek, dear followers of the despised Immanuel, to obtain glimpses of his divine glory and grace, through the power of the indwelling Spirit, and these will make you to see such a surpassing beauty and glory in Jesus, that you will count all things loss that you may win him, and be found in him. If you find the way to glory hard and rugged, oh! think what it cost the Son of God to open up that way! Remember also that, wherever you are called to go, in following the Lamb, you may see, by faith, the prints of Immanuel’s feet on the path before you. He does lead his people through fire and through water, but it is to a wealthy place. Soon will he come to call us home to the place prepared for us above. Soon he will offer up for us the prayer, ‘Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory,’ and then shall we depart and be with Jesus! To them that look for him, he will appear the second time without sin unto salvation!”—William Chalmers Burns

And from Ellen White: “God has a purpose in sending trials to his children. He never leads them otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling. He subjects them to discipline to humble them,–to lead them, through trial and affliction, to see their weakness and to draw near unto him. As they cry to him for help, he responds, saying, “Here am I.”

Here are links on overcoming trials at path2prayer.com.

I know it isn’t easy seeing trials as being sweet, but they are. Let’s keep trusting God!!!

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