What Should We Do When We Face Trials?
In the course of our believing in God, we will all encounter some trials, both big and small. Often times, however, we will be thrown into a panic or blame and misunderstand God, and thus live in torment. Then how shall we treat these trials in accordance with God’s wishes when faced with them?
Every brother and sister will encounter trials, like illness, persecution and suffering, natural and manmade disasters. When these situations befall us, they are tests of our faith and obedience toward God. The Bible says, “For You, O God, have proved us: You have tried us, as silver is tried” (Psalm 66:10). “My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2–4). From this we can see that trials are God’s tests and ordeals for people. They can temper people’s will, refine their confidence, cleanse the impurity in their belief in God, further their spiritual growth and make them soon become someone after God’s heart.
So, how shall we treat God’s trials when they come upon us? God’s words say, “While undergoing trials, it is normal for people to be weak, or to have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, just like Job. Although Job was weak and cursed the day of his own birth, he did not deny that all things in human life were bestowed by Jehovah, and that Jehovah is also the One to take them all away. No matter how he was tested, he maintained this belief. In your experience, no matter what refinement you undergo through God’s words, what God requires of mankind, in brief, is their faith and their love for Him. What He perfects by working in this way is people’s faith, love, and aspirations. God does the work of perfection on people, and they cannot see it, cannot feel it; under such circumstances, your faith is required. People’s faith is required when something cannot be seen by the naked eye, and your faith is required when you cannot let go of your own notions. When you do not have clarity about God’s work, what is required of you is to have faith and to take a firm stance and stand witness. When Job reached this point, God appeared to him and spoke to him.” From God’s words, we see that when God’s trials come upon us, we will become weak and negative and this is normal, but we should have true faith in God. We should come before Him and seek His intentions. Even if they are not in line with our own notions and imaginings, we should still accept and submit to them with a seeking heart, because everything God does is good, and among it all is the will of God. Take Job for example. He feared God and shunned evil; when his children committed sins, he would offer sacrifices for them. Overnight, his great fortune disappeared, and his house collapsed and took his children’s lives with it. Although he didn’t understand God’s will then, he did not sin with his mouth by blaming God, but instead sought and prayed to God; after he understood God’s will, he praised God, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). He stood firm in his testimony during his trials, and thus gained God’s blessings. There was also Abraham. When he was 100 years old, God gave him a son. After his son grew up, God asked him to offer up his only son Isaac to Him as a sacrifice. Even though he became weak at the time, yet he knew that his son was bestowed by God, he did not complain and sincerely offered to return his son to God. When God tested him, he didn’t make a bit of his own choices or requirements but obeyed God absolutely instead, so God blessed him so that his descendants would be as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach or the stars in the sky, and would eventually become great nations. The faith and obedience of Job and Abraham are something we should imitate.
The experiences of Job and Abraham allow us to realize that no matter what trials we face, we should not use reasoning with God or lay conditions on Him, but should obey and accept them unconditionally. This is the sense that we as created beings must possess. However, what is our attitude when facing God’s trials in our real life? Often times we may flee from God’s trials, and even misunderstand and guard against God because of not understanding the will of God as He tries people. Actually, when we understand the meaning of God’s trying people, we will not be wary of His trials, and we will obey and treasure all of them. This way we will stand firm and bear witness for Him in trials, and become people who are compatible with His intentions. God says, “If, like Job, man is able to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and can give his entire being to the hands of God, then will man’s end not be the same as Job’s—the receipt of God’s blessings? If man is able to accept and submit to God’s rule, what is there to lose? Thus, I suggest that you be careful in your actions, and cautious toward everything that is about to come upon you. Do not be rash or impulsive, and do not treat God and the people, matters, and objects He has arranged for you depending on your hot blood or your naturalness, or according to your imaginations and notions; you must be cautious in your actions, and must pray and seek more, to avoid inciting the wrath of God.” God’s words tell us that, everything disagreeable to us is set up meticulously by God. We need to come before Him, pray and seek more, obey His sovereignty and arrangements, and should not have our own decisions and demands. No matter how we suffer pain and refinement because of this environment, even in mortal danger, we still should seek and obey, not lose faith in God and stand witness in trials. On the contrary, if we are in conflict, resisting or even flee from God’s trials, not only will we not gain His leadership or receive any nourishment of the truth or the life, but we will betray Him because of misunderstandings about and complaints toward Him, and in the end the only one who will be at a loss will be ourselves. Because God’s essence is beautiful and good, and all that He does for us is love and salvation. Even if He is deliberately doing some things contrary to our intentions to train us, His purpose is to purify us so that we can become people who truly obey Him and gain His salvation.
I think of how after I began to believe in the Lord, I expended for the Lord with great enthusiasm and believed that I would certainly receive His blessings because of this, but contrary to my expectations, I suddenly suffered from a bad illness and a doctor said that I was unlikely to recover in a short period. The torment of my condition was worse than death and I couldn’t help but blame God, “I believe in God, so why does God not protect me?” In the midst of my pain, I came before God in prayer and seeking, and then saw the following words of God: “What God is perfecting is mankind’s faith, which is both invisible and intangible. What God does is convert words to faith, to love, and to life. People must reach a point where they have endured hundreds of refinements and possess faith greater than Job’s. They must endure incredible suffering and all manner of torture without ever leaving God. When they are obedient unto death, and have great faith in God, then this stage of God’s work is complete.” After reading this, I came to know that, this illness that had come upon me was God’s trial, and God used it to make me reflect on what impurities there were in my faith in God. Through reflection, I saw that when I encountered something that was not in accordance with my own ideas, I could make demands of God, complain to and blame Him, and that I had no true faith in Him and was not truly obedient to Him. Meanwhile, I also saw that I made bargains with God in my belief. When I had spent a bit for God, I wanted to exchange God’s rewards and blessings. I was too selfish and despicable! As I realized this, I knew more truly my own corrupt disposition. I knew I was disobedient to God, so I quickly came in front of Him and prayed, “O God! Through this illness, I saw that I am too filthy and corrupt, and my nature is selfish and despicable. I always wanted to expend some things for You in exchange for the blessings to enter the kingdom of heaven. Now, I am willing to repent. Whether this illness is a trial or discipline, I will no longer complain about You. I am willing to put my life and death in Your hand, not make excuses, or set conditions. No matter how You work, I am willing to be obedient to the end.” When I truly obeyed God, a miracle happened. Several days later, my condition took a favorable turn and I gradually recovered my health, contrary to what the doctor had said. This led me to see that God really is alive and vivid and that God is truly wise. He used this matter, which was at odds with my notions, to make me have true faith in and obedience to Him, and lead me to turn my wrong views on belief in Him around, put down my own ambitions and desires, and step onto the proper path of believing in God.
My friend, after you understand these things, will you still refuse God’s trials?