God Uses the Trials to Grow Us
Written by: Elisabeth Lough
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“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. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
- Romans 5:3-5
This verse goes completely against our mindset toward problems, doesn’t it? When trials come, they are uncomfortable, painful, and hard, and we want them to go away as soon as possible. Through difficult situations in life—whether it be the death of a loved one, an indefinite season of waiting for something we long for, a job loss, or a terminal disease—we are stretched in ways we never thought possible. And we rarely like it.
But God uses these trials to grow us. Even though these situations are never easy, they are meant to help us become better Christians and people. The lessons we learn during trials will teach us more than what we learn during seasons of comfort and ease. And at the end of the trial, we can see just how much we have matured.
My life verse (a verse from the Bible that is special to me), Psalm 62:8, gives a challenging command about trust: “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (KJV). Did you catch that? Trust in Him at all times. Not when it’s easy, not when life is perfect and smooth, but at all times, including the messy times, the sad times, the hopeless times, the desperate times.
I understand, it's hard to trust God when we don't know how long we'll be trusting Him in the season we’re in. It would be so much easier if we knew when our trial would end. But God doesn’t work that way. He asks us to trust Him, to have faith that He knows what He’s doing, and to believe that He has a good plan for our lives. I know it’s hard. I’m in a season when I have to do some serious trusting too.
Isaiah 55:8-9 promises, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (KJV). We may have our whole lives planned out, or at least a certain part of our lives, and then something happens to disrupt those plans.
I know how hard it can be to not get frustrated or discouraged when our plans change in a way we don’t like, but please believe me when I say that what God is doing in your life is good. It may not seem like it’s good. It may be the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, but God can do something beautiful in your life through this trial. You just have to let Him. Don’t close yourself off to His blessings and miracles because you don’t want or like this new path.
I’ll close with this verse: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, KJV). All things. Including the painful, uncomfortable, hopeless, desperate situations of life. God can still use those situations for His glory. Please, friend, please let God work in your life, no matter how painfully you’re being stretched. You may not understand why you had to go through that, but I promise you that God is going to use it for good in your life.
1. In what ways are you being stretched as a Christian? How can you grow from these experiences?
2. In reference to the “thorn in his flesh,” in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul says this: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, KJV). How can Paul’s attitude toward trials become ours?
Dear Lord, You allow blessings and hardships to come into my life, both for good reasons. And while I may not understand why the hard times have to come, I pray that You will give me the strength to endure them and the grace to grow in them. Help me to trust You daily and completely, knowing that You have a good plan for my life and that this trial is somehow a part of that plan. May Your will be done in my life through this hard season. I love You, Lord, and in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
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