God allows the Christian to experience trials for one purpose: that we may learn to fully trust Him with our life. We will never learn to trust Him if we never have opportunity to trust Him. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. That is why we can thank God for all things and that all things, even difficult situations, will work together for our good and God’s glory.
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
“In every trial we go through, God wants us to learn something about Him. We see this in the story of Jesus’ friend Lazarus’ sickness and death. Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, sent for Jesus to come heal their brother. Jesus delayed His coming to them. Martha and Mary could have concluded that Jesus didn’t care about the crisis they were in with their brother facing death. Yet, Jesus had a purpose in His delay. He wanted to reveal something to them about Himself—that He is not only the great healer of disease and sickness but also the resurrection and the life:
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live’ ” (John 11:25).
He also wanted Martha and Mary to learn the lesson of waiting on God in restful faith, assured that He will do all things well. This is the same lesson He wants us to learn in every trial. The sooner we learn this lesson the sooner we will experience the peace that passes all understanding in every trial of life—many times He seems not to hear or answer our prayers, because we have not learned to trust Him. Trusting God comes only as we intimately know Him.
God often uses financial and material needs to lead us into a closer relationship with Him. We may think we know God and trust Him, but when we face a major financial crisis, we discover our faith is not as strong as we thought.
For example, in Malachi God promises to bless us if we return tithes and offerings to Him. This is the only Bible verse where God asks us to “prove” Him or put Him to the “test” on the matter. God knows that money is an area where our faith can waver if we don’t think we have enough to give a tithe to God. So God leads us to a situation where we have an opportunity to put Him to the test, to prove Him faithful. At such times He wants us to lean on His promises such as:
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:9, 10).
Notice, we are told to honor God first. Then we can claim in faith His promise to provide. This is exactly what Jesus said: “seek first the kingdom of God . . . and” all we need will be added to us. I can say from experience that many times God will not bring deliverance until we step out in faith to follow His counsel and commands. He will allow us to enter into trying situations for us to learn the important lesson of trusting in Him for deliverance.
Do you really believe what God says? Do you know God personally enough to really trust Him in all situations, even the most difficult and trying ones? This is the very purpose He has in allowing us to go through difficult times. He wants us to learn that we can wait on Him in trusting, restful faith, knowing without doubt that He will deliver us in His own way and time. Those ready to meet Jesus when He comes will be a people who know by experience that they can confidently trust their God, knowing that He will deliver them even when everything seems to be against them and their enemies are saying their God has deserted them.
Personal Reflection and Discussion
1. Why did Jesus delay in responding to Martha and Mary’s request concerning their brother Lazarus?
2. Why does God lead His children into difficult situations?
3. What kind of difficult situations does God often use to teach His children to trust Him?
4. What should be the Christian’s attitude in all situations? What is your attitude in all situations?
5. When you face a difficult financial situation what should you do in relation to returning tithes and offerings to God?
6. Read Numbers 23:19. Does God ever lie? Does this text give you assurance and strengthen your faith?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. Pray for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. Pray for God to revive you and His church.
3. Pray for God to help you trust Him in all situations.
4. Pray for God to continue helping you through life’s trials, thanking Him for His guidance in the past.
5. Pray for the individuals on your prayer list.
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.”