Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Why Trials?

God has a purpose for them.

“But the Lord terrifies him thus, not in order that the ship in which he sits may be overwhelmed by the waves in shipwreck, but rather to rouse him to more fervent prayer that with God’s favour he may reach us after passing through the danger.”

   - Adomnàn, Life of Columba, Irish, 7th century

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

  - 1 Peter 4.12, 13

We should not expect that our lives as followers of Jesus Christ will be without trials and difficulties. The idea that Christians should be happy, care-free, and abounding in material comforts at all times is not consistent with Biblical expectations for the life of faith.

Jesus explained that in this world we should expect tribulation of various sorts (Jn. 16.33). Some trials will come because of our faith, since the world hates being reminded of its sin. Some trials will come simply because we live in a fallen world and are beings in whom the law of sin is still at work. At times the mess which is our world will impose its nastiness upon us; at other times, we make our own messes.

Christians should not try to avoid trials; rather, we must learn how to make the most of such opportunities for the glory of God and our lives as Kingdom citizens and ambassadors.

We all must undergo trials – hardship, loss, sorrow, pain, disappointment, betrayal, difficulty, uncertainty, lapses into sin, persecution, even fear and doubt. We should not think, when any kind of trial besets us, that we are going through some “strange thing” – something that Christians ought not have to endure. Trials and difficulties of all kinds simply come with the turf for the followers of Jesus Christ. No matter the circumstances which occasion such trials, or the conditions they bring upon us, all trials have their place in our walk with the Lord; and the Lord has good and perfect purposes in bringing us to them.

In our excerpt for today Colum Cille (Columba) was reflecting on the trial of a friend, who was sailing to meet him on Iona. He saw in a vision that a fierce storm had arisen, threatening his friend’s safety, and as he related this to his monks, he could see that they were disturbed. But he reassured them by pointing out that God did not intend to shipwreck their friend, but to strengthen him in prayer and to draw him more intensely into the shelter of God’s favor.

Our trials, of whatever sort, are intended for this same end. God wants us to always depend on Him, to commune with Him, to know the comfort, strength, joy, and pleasure of His presence, and to rest by faith in the certainty of His favor. He sends us trials, or allows us to fall into them, so that, looking to Him, we may rise above our trials through thanksgiving and prayer, and where necessary, confession and repentance. Thus we may know with greater certainty that all our hope, joy, peace, and wellbeing depend not on the circumstances and conditions of our lives, or our own best ideas and efforts, but on the One Who rules our circumstances and Who loves us and cares for us at all times.

What trials are you facing in the present? Do not fixate on them, and do not wallow in them. Instead, set your mind on the things that are above, where Christ is seated in heavenly places (Col. 3.1-3). Wait on Him in silence and prayer, listening for the convicting or guiding voice of the Spirit as you contemplate the sufferings of Jesus and rise with Him into the glorious Presence of God the Father. In His Presence are fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16.11). Settle into His Presence and promises, and you will find strength to endure your trials, wisdom to work through them, and comfort and hope, both to reassure you of God’s love, and to equip you to encourage others in their times of trial (2 Cor. 1.3, 4).

Trials, temptations, tribulations, and difficulties of all sort remind us of our frailty and fallenness, and summon us to seek the Lord for the comfort and safety only He can provide. So when you find yourself in such a situation, don’t consider it a “strange thing.” Rather, rejoice, seek the Lord, rest in Him, and know the peace and joy that no amount of untoward circumstances can overwhelm, and that can help you grow through your trials into a fuller faith relationship with the Lord.

For Reflection
1. What trials, difficulties, or temptaions are you currently facing? Are you seeking the Lord through them?

2. How do you expect these trials to help you grow in your relationshjip with the Lord?

Psalm 102.1-14 (Leominster: Not What My Hands Have Done)
Lord, hear my prayer and cry; hide not Your face from me!
In my distress and tears I sigh – Lord, hear my earnest plea!
My days like smoke blow past; my bones are scorched with sin.
My heart, like wilted, withered grass bends low to earth again.

With loudest groans and cries, and leanness in my soul,
no shelt’ring place arrests my eyes, no rest to make me whole.
My enemies grow strong; I weep with bitter tears;
my days are like a shadow, long; God’s face is no more near.

But You, O Lord, abide forever in Your place.
Arise and stand on Zion’s side and lavish us with grace!
Revive Your Church, O Lord!  Let all her dust and stones
be strengthened by Your mighty Word, and compact be as one.

Teach me ever to rest in You, Lord Jesus, for You are all my hope and joy. And help me to…

Thank you
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 120 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.

If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.

No