Today’s scripture reading:
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.
1 Peter 4:12
Some believers like to portray their lives as ideal and carefree. But in reality, being a Christian isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes we’ll experience trials that truly test our faith and ability to trust in God.
In today’s passage, Peter refers to times of testing as “fiery ordeals.” He says we shouldn’t be surprised when adversity comes our way. It’s important to remember that God has a purpose for our trials and will see us through each step of the way. But what purpose does God have for the hardships we face?
First, the heavenly Father will sometimes use painful experiences to cleanse and purify His children’s lives. Trials drive us to the Lord. Then, as we begin to focus on Him, we’re increasingly able to see things from His perspective and often become more aware of our sin.
Second, the Lord at times allows difficulty in our lives as a way of testing us—He might be trying our faith, endurance, or devotion to Him. He uses such experiences to reveal something about our spiritual development and to strengthen our faith.
Third, God uses suffering to demonstrate His power to sustain us. When He brings us through difficult times, He glorifies Himself. In turn, this encourages others when they experience trials, because they have witnessed God’s sustaining power in our lives.Ultimately, hardships strengthen our testimony. In the midst of our struggles, we might feel overwhelmed. But once the storm has passed, we can often look back and see the Lord’s providential hand carrying us through.