Scripture tells us being a Christ-follower does not exempt us from trials; in fact, it guarantees it. Unlike nonbelievers, we have an unwavering hope in the face of trials, but difficult and painful circumstances come regardless. The fact is we live in a broken world filled with broken people. Adam and Eve brought sin into the world with their initial disobedience, and we now continue to face the consequences of our own brokenness every day. Even Jesus himself faced agonizing hardship, not only in the way people treated him, but in enduring all of God’s wrath for our sin.
God’s Word doesn’t just guarantee trials, though. It provides encouragement and truth to guide us through those trials. The following are a just a few passages that speak to God’s faithfulness through tribulation.
But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
God speaks comfort to Israel in these verses, reminding them of both his power and his compassion for them. As we read this passage we can meditate on how God has brought us thus far and will continue to walk beside us through difficult times. He will not leave us, as the verses state, and he walks with us through fire and water, protecting us from destruction. He calls us to “fear not” and remember to whom we belong — the one who created us and remains sovereign over all things.
3 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus speaks these words to his disciples before he gave himself over to death, knowing what was to come in his own suffering as well as for the disciples after his resurrection. They still speak to us today as we endure trouble in our day-to-day lives, breathing encouragement and comfort into our hearts as we remember who is in charge. The words in John give us reason to have peace because of His goodness and sovereignty, even in the midst of hardship.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers,2 when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
In James, Scripture tells us to consider trials joy because of the affect they have on our faith and spiritual growth. Though it may be hard to do in the moment, we can often look back at difficult times and see how God brought us closer to Him because of it. As the above verses point out, growing closer to God and increasing our faith is the ultimate goal, not remaining content and unchanged.