“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you” Psalm 55:22a

If God is sovereign over all of life, then all things come from or through Him.  Our trials are included in these ‘all things’.  This knowledge comforts me. Horrifying would be the thought that life is random, that I am exposed and subject to cosmic, cold, uncaring CHANCE!

But no, trials (‘peirasmos’ in Greek) are ‘any adversity, affliction or sorrow which God brings His people through in order to encourage and prove their faith and confidence in Him’ (my NASB study Bible notes).

Since all my trials are from God, I can draw several conclusions. (Let me offer two of my more ordinary, but painful recent experiences):

  • Last week God allowed/authorized my ailing cat and my broken computer.
  • God has two goals for my life:  His glory and my transformation into the image of my older brother Jesus (if I am a Christian).
  • Since He plans trials, He knows the end and has prepared resources that I will need.  I call these pre-positioned stockpiles of grace.
  • There is nothing to fear if everything good & bad comes from God.
  • (I had to remind myself of the above point when I read about 3 local traffic deaths/serious accidents in the local paper).
  • Since chance and luck and randomness don’t exist, there is nothing to fear or to hastily maneuver away from.

These trials are the ever-changing variables of daily life.  They never end.  The circumstances just vary.  Why isn’t life free of trouble? Two reasons are given to us and God conceals the others.  One, we live in a world marred by the Fall. Two, troubles are used by God to grow our faith which is ‘more precious than gold or silver’.

But take heart. Trials are just the ‘light and momentary’ afflicting variables.  They pale in comparison with the unmovable big things.  Let me summarize these sturdy pillars.  I’ve organized them into blessed words that begin with the letter P.

These P-words jumped out at me as I was meditating on the seamlessness of the Bible.  The Old Testament presents us with many promises of God’s PRESENCE and PROTECTION and His ‘all-mighty’ POWER.  The psalms are rich with these kinds of verses.  Psalm 46 talks about God being a very PRESENT help in time of trouble.  Psalm 146 focuses in on the POWER of almighty God who is head of the angel armies.  And the man or woman who has the present PROTECTION of the God of Jacob and the hope of El-Shaddai (God Almighty) is blessed, that is happy and blissful (‘asher’ in Hebrew).

Now couple those promises with rest of the story in the New Testament and we get the PRIZE and the PURPOSE.  If you are a Christian, the greatest inheritance you have is summarized in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (and remember, this is not the “I–wish-it-were-so-hope”, but the “sure-rock-solid-it’s- going-to-come-to-pass” expectation. You can take it to the bank!)

So I look at these 5 P-words (Presence, Protection, Power, Prize and Purpose) as forming the frame work of our life here on Earth.  They do not change, for they are based on God who does not change.  All that changes are the new and passing trials that come and go based on God’s good plans for our eternal nature.

Do I like trials?  NO!!! Do I fear them?  Yes, and that is why I have to continually re-orient my thinking to line up with God’s word.  I get out of kilter and my feelings follow my thoughts.  But thanks be to God who has given us His precious Word.  So eat up, feed on His promises, and not just once a day. If you are like me, you eat some kind of food 3-4 times a day.  It’s just as reasonable to think that we need spiritual food as often.  Both the Old and New Testaments remind us that ‘man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’.   Bon appétit!