Have you ever thought, when you come in difficult situations, “Why is this happening?” You can easily become worried or depressed, or feel sorry for yourself. Have you ever thought about it that it’s actually because God has such a care and love for you that He sends these situations to test you – so that you can see your sin and be changed?
Trials are an opportunity!
It takes a lot of work from God’s side to get us to see ourselves. By nature we are full of pride, superficial, and seek only to please ourselves. God wants us to become gentle and humble of heart as Jesus was. We don’t always see the effect of our sinful nature on people around us when we say or do things. What a great grace it is from God that He leads us into situations where we can see it!
Often God sends situations or people to create those trials. That is why we often don’t realise that these trials come from God. The danger is that we then start believing our feelings. We can feel mistreated, misunderstood, gossiped about or neglected, and become discouraged or even bitter, blaming people or our situations for our “troubles”. (Hebrews 12:15.) Our feelings can become very strong. Satan doesn’t want us to see God’s grace over us, so he encourages these negative feelings.
God wants us to become a fruitful tree, showing the fruits of the Spirit. We must learn to see the trials as an opportunity to overcome the sin in our nature, and to change to become like Christ! That is God’s purpose when He tests us, no matter who or what He uses in doing so. Don’t listen to “advice” from your human thoughts and reasoning, so that you lose these opportunities to change. Rather listen to the Spirit, who will lead you to the truth.
Find your comfort in God
In the trials it’s very natural to speak to others about them, defending yourself, and seeking comfort from other people. But rather take David as an example. In Psalm 38 and 39 it’s written that David’s friends and family had turned against him, and wanted to kill him. They were waiting for him to make a mistake so that they could get to him. But David said that in all this, he was like a deaf man who didn’t hear, he didn’t speak, and he didn’t react. “Because it was You who did it,” he said. (Psalm 39:9.) He saw it was a time of testing that came from God, and he found his comfort and hope in God.
“… work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Philippians 2:12-14 (NIV).
How important this exhortation from Paul is! It’s very important that we get to see what is in our sinful human nature so we can be cleansed from it. We need help to see ourselves. David prayed in Psalm 13:3 (NIV): “Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death.” What is that sleep? It’s that we are happy with the way we are, we don’t think deeply about things, and have no need over ourselves.
God sends us “light”, He shows us the truth about ourselves, how we really are inside. And if we love the truth, we can get the fruits of the Spirit, the fruits of righteousness. It’s righteous for us to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. (1 Peter 5:6-7.) David writes that God has been good to him, and that He was merciful. Can we see our trials in the same way? David was a man after God’s own heart.
All things work together for our good, if we love God. (Romans 8:28.) Be slow to speak, and quick to hear from God, and you’ll receive your comfort from God and not people. That comfort is the word of God that is planted in your heart, which is able to save your soul. (James 1:19-21.) That word is cutting between soul and spirit, between joints and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12.) It gives life if we obey what we hear.
There is a way that we have to go on in order to come to the life of Christ, to the fruits of the Spirit. Therefore, it’s written, “My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NCV). Paul calls our trials and troubles light and just for a moment - which they are if we see them for what they are.
So we should never ask ourselves or others, “Why is this happening to me?”