“If God brings us into the trial he will be with us in the trial.” (Richard Sibbes)
The Bible is painstakingly clear: Christians will experience trials. Life will get tough. There will be moments of pain and turmoil. Flying in the face of the prosperity gospel, Scripture is realistic about trials and tribulations. They will come.
Just because the Bible is clear about trials doesn’t mean they are suddenly fun to experience. Trials, tribulations, suffering–whatever you want to call it–are not enjoyable. Whether you stub your toe twice in the same day and have to limp around for a bit, or you just found out you have stage 4 cancer–trials are going to come for all of us.
Rather than fearing trials, becoming anxious, and forgetting God, we should look at them as another opportunity to become more like Christ. Experiencing a trial doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. It’s quite the opposite. It means He wants to make you even more like Jesus. And understand this: God will never bring us a trial that He doesn’t walk alongside us in. Let’s look at a tremendous example of that.
Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego
I’m sure we all know this flame-filled story or at least know parts of it. To make a long story short, these three men decided they were not going to bow down and worship the false god that King Nebuchadnezzar created. As a result, he had them thrown into a fiery furnace after they did not bow the knee.
In this scene was delivered one of the most amazing examples of trust in God: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up'” (Daniel 3:16-18).
“God will deliver us, but even if he doesn’t, we will still not worship you.” That is a trusting faith. That is a supernatural faith.
Further on in the story they are indeed thrown into the furnace. As he threw them in there–where he heated it up seven times more than usual and they were bound together–he didn’t see three people, but four. And they weren’t burning. The fourth, the text tells us, had an “appearance like a son of the gods” (v. 25). They were then brought out of the fire.
It is evident in this story that the fourth person was none other than the divine, pre-incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. God was with them in the trial!
With us, Too
Friends, going through trials is an inevitable part of life–specifically the Christian life. We will all bleed at some point. And that’s okay. God promises to always be with us in any trial that He gives. It’s not as if trials blindside God. No, God sends the trials. Some may think that’s bad of God–certainly not. God uses trials to make us more like His Son.
When we understand the purpose of trials, we can trust God in the trials. We can take a great amount of comfort from knowing God will be with us in the trial, but always remember this: Jesus experienced the biggest trial. He is our sympathetic high priest who went through the fiercest of trials for us.
So not only does God promise to be with us in our trials, but He has shown Himself to go through His own trial on the cross in the life of Jesus Christ. He knows what we’re going through and to a far greater extent.
In light of all this, Christian, take comfort in the quote above: any trial God brings you, He will be with you in it. He will not leave nor forsake you. He will not leave you high and dry. He will stay right by your side through it all. Trust Him.