How does God use trials to make us more pure?
How does God want us to respond when hard times come our way?
Here is a verse that teaches us wonderful truths on how to deal with tough times.
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
When God is Silent
Many times in our life, we experience the silence of God: it could be an unanswered prayer, a death of a loved one, a sickness or a situation where we are about to give up and feel that God is so far away. How should we look at this?
The Spirit of God and the Word of God gives us a powerful account from the Bible that serves as a good encouragement for those of us who are undergoing tough trials. His Word serves as a two-edged sword which can pierce deep down to our hearts.
Job is a powerful book that is filled by life-giving Spirit. Since every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God is important, it is very crucial that we carefully consider every detail of its message.
Our text starts with a very important yet often neglected word that interestingly conveys a meaningful spiritual message. This word is the word “but.” As short as it seems, it connects us to the statements of the previous verses that highlights the unfolding drama of Job’s plea.
This word points us to the thought that before Job uttered his praises before God, he was seriously laying down his case before Him (23:1-9). With a heavy heart, he pounds upon the tables of the courts of the Almighty and he desperately wanted to hear explanations for his tragedies (v.3). From these verses, we can see possible reactions of our hearts in the midst of trials:
- Bitter complaints. (v.2)
- Heavy groaning. (v.2)
- Desperate want for answers. (v.3)
- Great cry to argue (v.4)
By looking at the dominant traits listed above, we see some of the negative reactions that may have already risen from our emotions. We go on through this life and experience countless moments of ups and downs along the way, and thus it is important to consider the solutions of God’s Word on how to be victorious.
Let us discover three immortal principles from Job’s life that would teach us how to deal with tough times. Remember, all of these principles are just powerless words without begging for the Spirit of God to accomplish it in our life.
1. Come to the end of yourself
When Job uttered the words “but He knows…,” he gave a clear idea that he no longer knew what to do with his situation. A series of great tragedies brought all his hopes to an end and there was only one hope that was left for him, and that is God.
Stars shine the brightest, when the night is the darkest. God wanted to be glorified in our most difficult situation when we begin to see ourselves as helpless souls, and that our only “help cometh from the Lord” (Psalm 121:2). Don’t turn your back from God during the trials of your life, instead, surrender and throw yourself to Him.
The immortal words that came out of Job’s mouth were so profound that he might have not said those words without him coming to the end of himself. Are you also in a place or situation where everything around you is unclear and dark?
When you come to the end of all your hopes and all of what you are, don’t miss the “grand fireworks.” Sit back and see the display of God’s glory amidst your darkest moments. Glorify Him together with Job, and utter the very life-giving words that can purify and mold you into a better person.
We see it is crucial that a person recognizes his spiritual poverty. Recognizing this reality in our self opens up the great doors of our hearts for God’s remedies.
2. Recognize that God knows what you are going through
“but He knows the way that I take…” – God knows my friend.
He knows what is happening to you now. He can see your heart. He knows what your feel. In fact, He Himself “carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4) and that is very encouraging to know.
When something evil happens, is God surprised? Is there anything happening under the sun that God does not exactly know of?
Thinking about the tragedies that came to your life may give you feelings of hopelessness and fear, but this is a very comforting truth that all of us must realize, and that is to know that the presence of the ever-comforting God is with us.
Have you been sick and hospitalized? Or have you experienced a sudden accident that brought you to a serious situation? One of the very first things we do as a response is to call for help. You may cry out, you may call 911, grab your phone to call your loved ones or message many people to broadcast your need. In your desperate situation, the biggest comfort is when your loved ones or an expert knew about your situation who will be there to help you.
The greatest comfort that you could receive during your trials is the assurance that God knows exactly what’s happening in your life. This alone is very comforting.
3. Trials are from God
“…when he hath tried me…”
Will it not change our outlook towards trials if we see them as from God? This thought is revolutionary to our spiritual lives because it enables us to see God as always working for our advantage. One good example of this is Joseph.
In Genesis 50:20, he was able to express one of the most comforting and rest-assuring words for mankind:
” As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (ESV). As evil as it may seem, we are rest assured that God is more powerful and higher above evil. However, Paul gave a reasonable condition in Romans 8:28 about God’s special favor, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV)
God’s sovereignty is not a license to a life of effortlessness, but rather, a comforting sense that God is in control of every situation of our lives, whether it be good or bad. This is an amazing truth to be known by His people.
When we say God is sovereign, it is not a fatal blow to our responsibility which could possibly lead to fatalism. However, this is to rest in our minds that all are impossible without God, no matter how we exert our best efforts.
Isn’t it also wonderful to know that the wisdom behind your trials is the best Person of all? Will it not comfort you knowing that He is the holiest, wisest, greatest, happiest, most wonderful, most satisfying, most loving and most caring Person in the whole universe?
Isn’t it amazing when He sends you to some depths and valleys where you discover that He is just preparing surprises to develop you in the end? “For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6)
Let us also remember that although trials are from God, temptations are not. James says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” (James 1:13)
When you are in the depths of trials and you feel that God is so silently far away, remember that trials are His hands that touches you and pulls you back again into His presence. Like David, we can declare that “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
From these three principles, let us draw out a practical conclusion.
Don’t let the rough sandpapers of your life go away without leaving you as a shinier person than before. Don’t waste your trials. Cheer up! Take heart! Embrace them joyfully, hug them with a welcoming spirit, rejoice and be exceeding glad!
Don’t waste your remaining energies in frowning, sulking and rebelling against circumstances in which you have no control. Be glad and look out for more ways on how you could grow and discover reasons to get excited about the things the Lord is preparing for your relationship with Him. (Matthew 5:12, Psalm 27:14).
Trust Him and lean not on your own understanding (Prov.3:5). Don’t forget to joyfully worship God in all that He sends to your life. May we be like Job who said, ” Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10 ESV)
Always remember, by His grace, you will go out better, purer, nearer and more victorious in God’s sight. Like Job, you could also say, “I shall come forth as gold.”