Another purpose of trials, one that is often overlooked and even derided by the more libertine among us, is that it produces discipline in our lives. Trials teach us discipline. Trials teach us obedience. Trials teach us in ways that prosperity and good times never could.
Hebrews 5:8, “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”
This passage in Hebrews is speaking of none other than the Christ, and it tells us that even though He was a Son, even He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. If Christ learned obedience by His suffering, would logic not conclude that we too learn obedience by our suffering?
It is love that tests our faith through trials, making it stronger, and more grounded, before the enemy has a chance to attack and attempt to destroy us. The love of God tests our faith to teach us discipline, to teach us obedience, to teach us dependence, so that when we engage the enemy we are not infantile in our thinking or our strength, but soldiers of Christ in the truest most complete sense of the word.
If we had not learned, and grown, and matured in our trials, would we even stand a chance against the onslaught of the enemy? If we had not been taught to obey and to depend and to be disciplined soldiers in our afflictions, would we have known what to do when we found ourselves on the battlefield?
It is easy to make light of these things, to brush them off and say that was for another time, or God wouldn’t test us that way nowadays, but the Word remains true yesterday, today, and forevermore, just as God remains true.
When we perceive our trials for what they are, and understand their purpose, we realize God is not being mean, He is being loving. God is not being a cruel taskmaster, but an adoring Father whose deepest desire is to see His sons and daughters being welcomed into His kingdom.
Even Christ learned obedience through His sufferings. What lessons is our suffering teaching us? What lessons are our trials attempting to convey? These are important questions, because if we don’t perceive the lesson, if we do not grow, if we do not learn obedience, then the trial will repeat until the lesson has been learned, and we have gone beyond the level of wisdom we found ourselves in before the trial started.
Can we say suffering has taught us obedience? If not, then why not?
Is it perhaps because we saw the trials and suffering as something negative, something to be avoided, and circumvented at any cost? Is it perhaps because we see countless self-appointed teachers telling us that the testing of our faith is no longer a prerequisite, that God no longer attempts to teach us through our trials but rather only through our blessings?
Whether by small steps or large strides, if one continues in a direction long enough the destination is eventually reached. We need not embrace great deceptions. It is enough to embrace little ones time and again, and have them skew our understanding, and impression of how things ought to be. Once our impression is skewed, so are our expectations of how our lives should turn out, and we find ourselves almost bitter toward a loving God who allowed trials in our lives for the greatest of good, while we see them as the greatest of evil.
The enemy knows if he can shift our perspective and compel us to see trials as anything less than the blessings they are, we will enter them grudgingly, try to figure out ways out of them on our own, and rather than allow them to perfect us and glory in the knowledge that the genuineness of our faith is being proven, we will murmur and complain.
God also allows trials in our life to humble us. Yes, I know, we are all the picture of humility, at least in our own minds, but God does need to humble us from time to time just as He had to humble Israel of old.
Deuteronomy 8:3, “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by ever word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 8:2, “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.