By Jim Ramsey
It is hard to see our brothers and sisters in Christ go through times of suffering, loss, and hardship. Our consolation in Christ is that even though trials are a part of life, a part that is unavoidable for all of us, God has given us an advantage in such times! Scripture is clear that I will face trials–that it takes courage to face my problems, to strive for holiness, and to live for God in an increasingly non-Christian culture. So, what IS the “unfair advantage” I have over the non-Christian in facing trials?
First, I have a life filled with wonderful expectations. My expectation (hope) is anchored in the One Who has power over death, and certainly has power over my life. Optimism is an investment in hope, and is my only option if I believe what the Bible says about the future of this world. In spite of what is happening, I have the assurance that the best is yet to come! My trials are only temporary (“for a season”), and armed with proper perspective toward them I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The advantage of steadfast hope is irreplaceable in my time of trial.
Second, my trials come with a purpose. When the Apostle Peter wrote about trials (I Peter 1:1-9) he spoke not only about persecution, but was addressing life issues such as health problems, relationship problems, job problems, and money problems, etc. as well. Trials are permitted by God, not for His benefit, but perhaps to reveal to me areas in my life that need attention and improvement. The Divine purpose for my trial is accomplished when I pass the test by responding to it properly and glorifying Him in my conduct going through it. When I see my trial from God’s viewpoint, seeking His purpose in it, it keeps me from being miserable in it. What an advantage! I know God is at work in me in my time of trial.
Third, I can look for God’s protection and provision with every step I take in my trials. I am “kept by the power of God through faith” that gives me the ability not only to endure the trial, but also to overcome it as a victor in my attempt to glorify God in it.
Hard times come, but because of who I am, a child of the King, I have a great advantage in them over those in the world who know not my Father. My loving Father knows my every step, and in love orchestrates my life for my benefit and for His glory.