Of what value are trials to us, and what is their object? Peter had a good insight to these questions, and he left this counsel for us: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” I Peter 4:12, 13.
Trials come in different forms and shapes to God’s people, and they come in unexpected ways from unexpected sources. But why do we need trials? They come to make us partakers of His glory. Patience, hope, and love, are attributes we need to make us worthy to partaker of His glory. So trials come to us to try our patience, to give us hope, and to make us lovable, even to the unlovable and the unkind, that we may develop faith, so that God’s glory may be seen in us. However, at the time we are faced with trials and sore conflicts, the enemy tries and works hard to shut out the light of the Lord, to make everything appear as darkness. Instead of seeing the joys of trials, and praising God for them, he would have us believing that the world is against us, that nothing good happens to us, that we are the only ones called to suffer, and so on, as we give ear to his whispers, his evil words of doubt and discouragement. Nevertheless, the Lord does not leave us to suffer at the hand of the enemy. We must look away from the dark trials and perplexities, and beyond to the bright unseen and the eternal.
“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.” 1 Peter 1:7.
“The assaults of Satan are fierce and determined, his delusions are terrible; but the Lord’s eye is upon His people, and His ear listens to their cries. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but the Refiner will bring them; forth as gold tried in the fire. God’s love for His children during the period of their severest trial is as strong and tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed, that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.” GC 621:1.
“We are in a world of suffering. Difficulty, trial, and sorrow await us all along the way to the heavenly home. But there are many who make life’s burdens doubly heavy by continually anticipating trouble. If they meet with adversity or disappointment they think that everything is going to ruin, that theirs is the hardest lot of all, that they are surely coming to want. Thus they bring wretchedness upon themselves and cast a shadow upon all around them. Life itself becomes a burden to them. But it need not be thus. It will cost a determined effort to change the current of their thought. But the change can be made. Their happiness, both for this life and for the life to come, depends upon their fixing their minds upon cheerful things. Let them look away from the dark picture, which is imaginary, to the benefits which God has strewn in their pathway, and beyond these to the unseen and eternal.”–MH 247:3
“God in His great love is seeking to develop in us the precious graces of His Spirit. He permits us to encounter obstacles, persecution, and hardships, not as a curse, but as the greatest blessing of our lives. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne, gives us a new experience and advances us in the work of character building. The soul that through divine power resists temptation reveals to the world and to the heavenly universe the efficiency of the grace of Christ.
“But while we are not to be dismayed by trial, bitter though it be, we should pray that God will not permit us to be brought where we shall be drawn away by the desires of our own evil hearts. In offering the prayer that Christ has given, we surrender ourselves to the guidance of God, asking Him to lead us in safe paths. We cannot offer this prayer in sincerity, and yet decide to walk in any way of our own choosing. We shall wait for His hand to lead us; we shall listen to His voice, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ Isaiah 30:21.”-MB 117:1,2.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Rom. 5:3-5.
Examine this text closely. Observe that tribulations give us patience as we work through our trials, thus gaining an experience that produces hope that will not make us ashamed. Notice that, however hard the trials and temptations are for us to bear, we gain an experience that gives us hope, and the hope we have will never make us ashamed because of God’s love in our hearts, which the Holy Spirit has given us.
” … The trials to which Christians are subjected in sorrow, adversity, and reproach are the means appointed of God to separate the chaff from the wheat. Our pride, selfishness, evil passions, and love of worldly pleasure must all be overcome; therefore God sends us afflictions to test and prove us, and show us that these evils exist in our characters. We must overcome through His strength and grace, that we may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” –3T115:1.
“Let no one seek to evade the cross. It is through the cross that we enabled to overcome. It is through affliction and trial that divine agencies can carry on a work in our lives that will result in the love and peace kindness of Christ.”– 1SM 224:4.
” … Trials are essential in order that we may be brought close to our heavenly Father, in submission to His will, that we may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness …. The Lord brings His children over the same ground again and again, increasing the pressure until perfect humility fills the mind, and the character is transformed; then they are victorious over self, and in harmony with Christ and the Spirit of Heaven. The purification of God’s people cannot be accomplished without suffering …. He passes us from one fire to another, testing our true worth. True grace is willing to be tried. If we are loath to be searched by the Lord, our condition is one of peril ….” –ML92:2.
“In Christian experience, the Lord permits trials of various kinds to call men and women to a higher order of living and to a more sanctified service. Without these trials there would be a continual falling away from the likeness of Christ, and men would become imbued with a spirit of scientific, fanciful, human philosophy, which would lead them to unite with Satan’s followers.
“In the providence of God every good and great enterprise is subjected to trials, to test the purity and the strength of the principles of those who are standing in positions of responsibility and to mold and substantiate the individual human character after God’s model. This is the highest order of education.”–MM 168:3, 4
“It is in mercy that the Lord reveals to men their hidden defects. He would have them critically examine the complicated emotions and motives of their own hearts, and detect that which is wrong, and modify their dispositions and refine their manners. God would have His servants become acquainted with their own hearts. In order to bring to them a true knowledge of their condition, He permits the fire of affliction to assail them, so that they may be purified. The trials of life are God’s workmen to remove the impurities, infirmities, and roughness from our characters, and fit them for the society of pure, heavenly angels in glory…. The fire will not consume us, but only remove the dross, and we shall come forth seven times purified, bearing the impress of the Divine.”–ML92:3.
“And he brings forth fruit ‘with patience.’ None who receive God’s word are exempt from difficulty and trial; but when affliction comes, the true Christian does not become restless, distrustful, or despondent. Though we can not see the definite outcome of affairs, or discern the purpose of God’s providence, we are not to cast away our confidence. Remembering the tender mercies of the Lord, we should cast our care upon Him, and with patience wait for His salvation.
“Through conflict the spiritual life is strengthened. Trials well borne will develop steadfastness of character and precious spiritual graces. The perfect fruit of faith, meekness, and love often matures best amid storm clouds and darkness.-Signs of the Times, August 18, 1909, p. 6.”–COL 60:4, 5.
God wondrously wrought for the Israelites in taking them over the Red Sea. But instead of benefiting from their trials and praising God for their deliverance, they almost immediately began to recriminate Moses. Instead of praising God and glorifying His name for giving them such a noble general to lead them safely through the Red Sea, this is their sad record:
“After Israel crossed the sea, and after the sea closed in on their enemies, they all sang and gave God the glory But though Pharaoh’s army and the sea were no longer objects of fear but of interest, their trials, doubts, and fears were not yet at an end: Almost immediately after they saw the sea behind and the desert ahead they began to recriminate Moses for having brought them into the desert to starve there for want of water and food. It never entered their minds that if God can dry the sea, He can certainly t1ood the desert and make it blossom as a rose. Notwithstanding their doubts and their moanings God again performed an even greater miracle: He caused water to gush out of the rock and He brought manna from Heaven!”-1TG 7:8:2.
Man’s ways are not God’s ways, neither are his thoughts God’s thoughts. Man would have become disgusted with Israel, but God in His mercy performed an even greater miracle. He gave them water from a rock and food from Heaven. How shortsighted were our forefathers, and we are warned not to do as they did when we are surrounded by trials and temptation:
“Worry is blind, and cannot discern future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God supreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet.”—DA 330:1.
“The lessons, too, from Job’s trials will be for their learning, hope, and courage. They will understand and consider well the fact that there were Jobs before the Job of the Bible, that there were Jobs since him, that there are Jobs today, and that there will be Jobs till the Kingdom comes. Their faith in God will be in truth and in confidence, whether in weal or in woe, in sickness or in death, and nothing will be able to move them from Heaven’s message for the day. They will know that it is to be either their life or their death, and to life will they cling. They will not be found murmuring, doubting, accusing, or despairing, for whatsoever their lot while inside God’s hedge, they will know it is His will for them.”–2TG 46:43:1.
Paul give a vivid description of the suffering endured by God’s people:
“‘Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance: that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, more over of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were slain with the sword: they wandered about In sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Heb. 11:35-38.
“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able lo comfort them which arc in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth Christ.” 2 Cor. 1:4,5.
“For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lam. 3:31-33.
This we can only do as we submit to the pruning knife of trial. We are bidden to “Go to the ‘Door,’ and tell Him your needs and your trials. Say, ‘Lord, my trials are Your trials. I will not let them trouble me any longer. I will put my heart and soul into Thy work.'” (1TG 2:32:3.)
“Fellow Christian, Satan knows your weakness; therefore cling to Jesus. Abiding in God’s love, you may stand every test. The righteousness of Christ alone can give you power to stem the tide of evil that is sweeping over the world. Bring faith into your experience. Faith lightens every burden, relieves every weariness. Providences that are now mysterious you may solve by continued trust in God. Walk by faith in the path He marks out. Trials will come, but go forward. This will strengthen your faith, and fit you for service. The records of sacred history are written, not merely that we may read and wonder, but that the same faith which wrought in God’s servants of old may work in us. In no less marked manner will the Lord work now, wherever there are hearts of faith to be channels of His power.” -11 Code 6, p.6:1.
God’s workers will not faint and groan and become disheartened however severely they are tried. Says the servant of the Lord:
“God calls for cheerful co-workers, who refuse to become discouraged and disheartened by opposing agencies. The Lord is leading us, and we may go forward courageously, assured that He will be with us, as He was in past years, when we labored in feebleness, but under the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Angels ministered to Christ, but their presence did not make His life one of ease and freedom from temptation. He ‘was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ [Heb. 4: 15.] If ministers, while engaged in the work that the Master has appointed them, have trials and perplexities and temptations, should they be discouraged? Should they cast away their confidence because their labors do not always bring the results that they so greatly desire to see? True workers will not despond in view of the work before them, arduous though it may be. Shrinking from hardship, complaining under tribulation, makes the servants of God weak and inefficient.
“As those who stand in the forefront of the battle see that the special warfare of Satan is directed against them, they will realize their need of strength from God, and they will labor in His strength. The victories that they gain will not exalt them, but will cause them to lean more securely upon the Mighty One. Deep and fervent gratitude to God will spring up in their hearts, and they will be joyful in the tribulation that comes to them while pressed by the enemy.”-GW 266:1-3.
What encouraging words are left to hearten and cheer us along! They will sustain us as we prayerfully 1· study God’s words, storing them up in our memories in times of prosperity and joy, that when trials and temptations press sorely upon us, the Holy Spirit will bring them to our remembrance:
“‘And he brings forth fruit “with patience.” None who receive God’s word are exempt from difficulty and trial; but when aft1iction comes, the true Christian does not become restless, distrustful, or despondent. Though we can not see the definite outcome of affairs, or discern the purpose of God’s providence, we are not to cast away our confidence. Remembering the tender mercies of the Lord, we should cast our care upon Him, and with patience wait for His salvation.
“‘Through cont1ict the spiritual life is strengthened. Trials well borne will develop steadfastness of character, and precious spiritual graces. The perfect fruit of faith, meekness, and love often matures best amid storm-clouds and darkness” (COL 60).
“Let us pray that our spiritual perceptions be quickened so that we shall more readily understand God’s dealings in answer to our prayers; that through conflict the spiritual life will be strengthened; that we throw not away our confidence when afflictions arise, but that like Paul we rejoice for having been accounted worthy to suffer in patience.”-2TG 27:2:3-5.
“No, there is neither beast nor man that can take your life or cheat you of promotion if you do God’s bidding; if you know that He Who keepeth Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers (Ps. 121:3, 4); that He knows all about you, my friends, every moment of the day and of the night; that He takes notice even of the hairs that fall from your heads; that whatever befalls you is but God’s own will for your own good. I say, if you know and believe that He is God and the Keeper of your bodies and souls, then regardless what befalls you, you will be happy in it and give God the credit for it, not munnuring, but glorying even in your trials and aft1ictions.”- 2TG 35: 11:1.
“We shall learn in the end, if only our faith fail not, that the best treasures of life and character come out of the dark, painful hours. In the days and nights of pain we learn endurance. In the struggles with doubt and fear we find at last bright blessed faith. In the darkness of sorrow we learn the song of joy. In weary suffering we get sweet pity for others. Meet every hard thing, every obstacle, every sorrow, with faith; be more than conqueror over it through Him that loved you, and it will leave blessing, treasure, enrichment in your life.” – J.R. Miller, In Green Pastures p. 158:1
“‘God carries many of His children into the darkened rooms of affliction, and when they come forth again there is more of the beauty of Christ in their souls. We get many of the best things of our lives out of suffering and pain. It may be the easiest, but it is not surely the best life, and the most blessed that is free from trial. The crown is not given to untried live.” Id p.240:2.
Beloved, be encouraged with these words: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry.” Heb. 10:35-37.