Trials and tribulations. Two words no Christian really likes to hear, am I right? We prefer messages about peace, joy, and victory, and while those aspects of the Christian life are certainly true, it is equally true that we will face trials in this life. Jesus even said so Himself.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
If I have to be honest with myself, I sometimes act surprised when a trial comes. It's like I think I'm entitled to a perfect life with no troubles. I pray for refinement, and then when the trials come, I am often quick to blame the devil.
Now don't get me wrong, sometimes trials do come from the devil and in those situations they need to be fought with authority and prayer. (For example: sickness, depression, fear, etc.) But oftentimes, God will bring a trial our way to refine us and make us look more like Jesus. The Amplified Bible puts this beautifully:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test you [that is, to test the quality of your faith], as though something strange or unusual were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12
Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
This is one of the key things to remember during our trials: God is using them to refine us. The word refine in Hebrew is a word that means to test, to purge, to melt away. God uses the difficult people and situations in our lives to melt away attitudes in our hearts that do not glorify Jesus and to shape us in word and conduct to look more like Him. (With our cooperation, of course.) The more we die to self (not a popular concept) the more the life and love of Christ will be made manifest through us.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:10
Another key thing to remember is that whatever trial we are going through has an end. We can be assured that God is working all things to our good when we love Him and are called according to His purpose. And we can know that, with God, the end is always good.
For You have tried us, O God;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
You brought us into the net;
You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins.
You made men ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water,
Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance. Psalm 66:10-12
Stay spiritually healthy Friends!