Jim Frantti | 2013 February Voice of Zion
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you” (1 Pet. 4:12).
In the world, there is a saying that “life is not a bed of roses.” The saying comes from the realization that nobody’s life is free from difficulties and trials. Although trials and struggles come in different ways, nobody is without them.
Even though we understand this, when difficult things happen in our lives that cause us to struggle, we can find ourselves asking, “Why me? Why this trial?” In the midst of our questions and doubts, the enemy of souls comes to tell us that we are somehow different from others. He may say, “Your trials are unique. No one has difficulties or struggles like you have.”
All People Have Trials
In the Bible, we can find many examples that teach us that we are not so different. Others have had trials. Beginning with the family of Adam and Eve, we can read about difficulties experienced within the family. We can go on to read about the difficulties in the family of Jacob, whose wife Rachel died in childbirth, and who later thought that his son Joseph had also died, when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. And what trials did Joseph experience in his life; sold by his brothers, separated from his family, and later wrongly imprisoned in the land of Egypt?
The book of Job describes the trials of his life, his struggles to deal with those trials, and the reason they happened to him. The Bible relates in detail about the life of David and its ups and downs. The book of Daniel tells us of some of the trials that Daniel and his three friends had to face in Babylon. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says that “the time would fail” him to tell of all that the former saints endured.
We Are Not So Different
Apostle Peter teaches us not to think of ourselves as strange or different because of our trials. Peter also writes that we should resist the devil even in the midst of trials, “knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Pet. 5:9). Jesus says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). Apostle Paul, who writes about his many difficult experiences, says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Sometimes we look at others, and their lives can seem so much easier than ours. We might think that they do not have the kinds of struggles that we have. Then when we are able to speak with others about their lives, we learn that we are not so different. They have also experienced difficult times and trials in life like we have. Perhaps the trials are not the same, but we realize that every family and every person has struggles.
God’s Word does not leave us to sorrow over our trials. It assures us that God knows our needs and takes care of us. When he writes of our common afflictions, Peter says, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Pet. 5:10).
When Paul writes of our common temptation, he says, “but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
And when Jesus warns that in the world we shall have tribulation, He says, “But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Apostle John writes, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). In the same way, the writer to the Hebrews, in recalling the trials of former saints, writes that they were victorious by faith (Heb. 11).
Content in God’s Grace
In times of trials or sorrow in my life, I have tried to remember that all people have such times and to remember how fortunate it is to be able to face trials as a child of God. God takes care of us in His kingdom. It is a grace kingdom. In His kingdom, God cares for us with His grace and the gospel of forgiveness. Our brothers and sisters help us. They lift us up with the gospel. They share our burdens. And they carry us in their prayers.
In God’s kingdom we do not have to feel like we are different because of our struggles. We can be who we are—as God made us. Apostle Paul asks the question, “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Rom. 9:20). It is good to be free to be who we are, to be open epistles, and to share our joys and our sorrows.
God’s message to Apostle Paul is a message to us also, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Together with Paul, we say, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I amweak, then am I strong” (2 Cor. 12:9,10). We can cast our cares upon Him who cares for us. In the hearing of the gospel we can believe all of our sins and doubts forgiven in the name and blood of Jesus. In this gospel, God gives us the power to continue in faith, even in the midst of trials.
1. What are some examples of trials or difficulties that can cause a believer to struggle?
2. Read Ruth chapters 1 and 2. What can we learn from the story of Naomi and Ruth?
3. Read Hebrews 11. What is the main message of this portion of the Bible?
4. The family of Korah experienced a great trial when their father fell from faith as a leader of a heresy and experienced a horrible death. Read the following two psalms for the children of Korah: Psalm 88, which expresses their struggles, and Psalm 84, which expresses their joy to be God’s children even in the midst of struggles.
February 2013 Voice of Zion