The Divine Purpose of Trials


The following is a blog I did on Thursday, July 10, 2008 

The Divine Purpose of Trials

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials ,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
And let endurance have its perfect result , so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 (NASB)

Do you consider your trial today as a joy and blessing from God, or do you, as I did in the past, seek immediate relief from any such trials? The trials we encounter come in many forms; sometimes they are physical, sometimes they may be mental. But according to Romans 8:28, they all have a divine purpose.

John MacArthur wrote in his book Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically: “Human therapies are embraced most eagerly by the spiritually weak, those who are shallow or ignorant of biblical truth and who are unwilling to accept the path of suffering that leads to spiritual maturity and deeper communion with God. The unfortunate effect is that these people remain immature, held back by a self-imposed dependence on some pseudo-Christian method or psycho-quackery that actually stifles real growth.”

MacArthur was absolutely right. How do I know this? Because this statement described me for many years and only very recently did I come to this realization. As a matter of fact, I would have been very offended by the suggestion that this was true of me during that period, as you may well be as you read this.

There is a difference between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. In the world’s wisdom, a man suffering from depression usually is medicated until the depressed mood is chemically removed or at the very least subdued. In contrast, God in His infinite wisdom allows humans to go through depression and other various trials as a means of encouraging spiritual growth in us and teaching us endurance. The wisdom of the world attempts to medicate away the intentional work of our all knowing God. I speak from personal experience! I allowed similar psycho-quackery to enslave me to depression medications for over eight years. These pseudo-scientific methods only compounded the problem, totally failing to get to the root of the issues resulting in the depression. My spiritual growth was totally stifled in the process. But I felt better, at least until the meds began to stop working! And I had been told that I would have to be on the medications for the rest of my life!

Our trials, which include relationship issues, marriage problems, career issues, etcetera, are all a part of the process of progressive sanctification. And in a nutshell, progressive sanctification refers to the lifelong process of transformation into the image of Christ.

1/9/2007 2:21 PM