A friend of mine posted a touching video about the first time hearing his autistic sons voice. I can only imagine the difficulty dealing with such a thing. As either the parent or the child. And I can only imagine the joy he felt as he described the experience. But one thing was said in the video I vehemently disagree with. Our trials are NEVER punishments. EVER. This isn’t the old testament.
There seems to be a trend in the world. Whenever something bad happens, people somehow believe that God is punishing them for something. They don’t understand why, and in turn begin to lose faith. Why is this? Who told them that a trial, a difficulty, a road block, is a punishment? And even if it were, why would lose faith? James 1: 2-4 says:
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
And this is only one instance where trials are good things.
Something I learned years ago is that we were never meant to remain the same. Growth is natural. We need to grow. Our experiences, our trials, they force us to grow and change. That is the beauty of living. Every person we meet, every place we live, every moment of our lives, is meant to challenge and evolve us to become better people. How can you empathise with another if you have never suffered? How can you understand Christ’s atonement if you have never felt pain? It’s impossible.
Another reason trials are not punishments is that we have been given promises if we just endure. James 1:12 says:
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
And this is only one promise. Romans 8:17-18 promises that we will share in Christ’s glory, and that our trials ‘are not worth comparing’ to that glory. In Proverbs 3:5-6 promises that our path will be made straight if we simply trust in the Lord.
I get it. Trusting in the Lord is not always easy. But you have to. He loves you. He loves all of us. Even me. Yes, we will most likely never understand the point of some of our trials, but that’s ok. We don’t have to. We must simply keep pushing forward. You will be amazed at your transformation. Maybe you are more empathetic. Maybe you have more patience. And just maybe, you have more love.
So don’t lose faith. Don’t lose hope. Be believing. And remember, the Lord loves you. He will never stop loving you. So when you feel like a trial is a punishment, stop. It isn’t. It is a chance for you to become better. Much love 🙂