Keith Hunt - Trials, Tests, and Troubles? #1 - Page One   Restitution of All Things
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Trials, Tests, and Troubles? #1

Why do we have them?


The big "Terrible Three T's" as some call the above words. Who
has not been faced with batting against at least one of them at
some point in their life?  The balls they throw are not only fast
but varied.  Many have often been struck out by these t's. 
Christians are called up from the dug-out to face them.  For what
reasons?  God does give us some answers.  His word tells us why
there are troubles, tests, and trials in this physical life.

                          by

                      Keith Hunt

     As a single man up to the age of twenty five, if someone had
asked me if I had been bothered by the "terrible three" - trials,
tests, and troubles - I would have probably looked at them with
puzzlement and said: What are you talking about?

     Looking back on my life to the age of mid-twenties and
single, I can honestly say it was very smooth and trouble free.
My parents were of middle income class, and had provided me with
all the basic essentials during my school years.  They had sent
me to a Church of England school where the Bible was the first
class of the day.  I had attended a neighborhood Sunday-school
for years without hardly missing the weekly class and loved it
all.
     I was not the brightest in the early years of my schooling,
but made up for it when I hit the teenage mark.  I was gifted in
sports and athletics - music and singing was not far behind.  I
took speech classes and joined an amateur theatrical group.
Yes, I had my share of cuts, knocks and bruises during those
years in active sports, but also plenty of glory days for our
team games and victories in individual events on the track and
field.  Through all those activities in and out of school, I
never broke one single bone of my body.
     I finished high school in good.....physical and mental
shape.  My religious views had kept me out of much trouble.  I
had never spent a night in the hospital, and my interest in
health was giving me a great start to face adult life.

     Probably the most trouble I had faced during those school
years was "tooth-ache" for not drinking enough milk and too many
candies - I tended to have a very sweet tooth, but being raised
in England that was very normal, the English have got to be the
"sweatiest" people on earth - sugar stuff that is..

     I was not the "college" or "university" type (which many
today would find hard to believe) so had no interest in such
institutions.  The "wild west" was it for me, so either Canada or
the USA and the wide open spaces was my goal.  Having no
relatives in the USA, western Canada was easy to immigrate to, so
at the age of eighteen I was going west young man.

     I decided to come over the expanse of the Atlantic ocean by
ship. It was May 1961 and what a great seven days travel.  The
sea was as smooth as a baby's bottom, and the sky clear blue all
the way.  No storms, no "abandon ship - into life boats," no sea
sickness, just a delightful week.
     Arriving in Montreal I was soon through immigration and
aboard the trans-continental train to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 
It was the first time I had ever been on a train more than one
day - a wonderful experience.  No train robbers, no washed out
bridges, no bad weather.
     It was in the 90's (old scale for you Canadians) when I
disembarked in Saskatoon.  I was met by the local immigration
representatives who had arranged "board and room" for me with a
family in town.  Ah, all was just going great and within 4 days I
had employment with the Hudson Bay Co. As a single guy I was
making more money than I had ever seen in my 18 years of life.
That particular year on the Canadian prairies was a blistering
hot drought year.  The locals said the snow started to melt in
January and just got hotter and hotter as the year went by.
Some USA tourists passing through town had some troubles, but not
me, the most trouble I had was keeping cool.  I arrived home(the
same place I had from the time I arrived in western Canada) after
work one day and soon the call came from the landlord that it was
supper time.  There was a few other fellows boarding there
besides me, two young men from Germany and a few Canadians - we
all gathered around the table for the evening meal.
     "Well fellows" said the landlord, "have I got something to
tell you about today.  I was down town this afternoon in that 98
degree heat and a USA car pulls up along side me.  I noticed
there were snow skis tied on top of the roof.  The window rolls
down and a voice comes from within asking me this question,'How
far do we have to go north before we find snow?'"
     Well you can imagine our laughter.  I guess those people
from the USA expected that as soon as they hit the Canadian
boarder they would run into snow, even if it was July and a heat
wave.
     I had no trials, tests, or troubles BUT THEY SURE DID!  Can
you imagine the trouble they were in?  They had left behind the
heat of the USA prairies to go skiing in the snow of Canada, only
to find western Canada had no snow in July and was enduring heat
and dust like they had not seen since the 30's.

     In the fall of 1961 I tuned in to the World-Tomorrow Radio
broadcast, two years later at the age of 21 I was baptized and
became a member of the then Radio Church of God.
     About the same time I accepted a job as an apprentice
Orthopaedic Shoemaker(making footwear for people with crippled
feet).  I learned everything about that skill from A to Z over 4
years of training.
     At the age of 25 I had still never really experienced any
large trials, tests, or troubles.

     That was the first half of my life, relatively trouble free.

But the second half was not to be the same.  I have had my share
of troubles, tests, and trials, over the last 28 years of my
life(to the date of the writing of this article - August 1995).

     I have known people who had their trials, tests, and
troubles, the first 25 years, and less after.  Then some have
their trials and troubles in the middle of their life, others
during the later years of life, some have their troubles spread
evenly over their life time, and a few make it through their life
without hardly any troubles, maybe a few minor ones here and
there.

     I know one Christian couple who had a few secular job
problems when they were young, but after that bridge was crossed,
the rest of their lives(they are 71 and 70 today, as I write this
in 1995) was smooth sailing, without any real problems.  The man
has had his job for nearly 50 years now (now part time), both him
and his wife are in great health, they raised two children who
gave them not one day of trouble, both are upstanding Christians.

Looking back I am sure they would tell you that life was very
good to them, with practically no trials, tests, or troubles.

     Now granted, there are not very many people like the couple
I just mentioned.  But there are a few here and there. Most of us
will face many trials, tests, and troubles, during our lives. 
Some will be much harder and tougher troubles and trials
than others, but most of us will have them sooner or later.
I know speaking personally that my trials, tests, and troubles,
have been relatively mild compared to what some have faced and
endured through.
     When I watch the local and national news, when I watch some
of the programs like 20/20; 60 Minutes; Prime Time; Date Line,
and see the situations in life that many must pass through, I
realize my troubles are pretty small in comparison.

     When it comes to trials, tests, and troubles, life can be a
mixture, MANY facets are involved as to how, when, where, and
why.

     We shall start to look at this subject by answering the
question:
     "WHERE do trials, tests and troubles come from - WHO is
ultimately behind them all?"

THE WHO OF TRIALS

     When God first made man and woman, and placed them in the
garden of Eden, all was "good." They had been created perfect
physically speaking, and with a wonderful garden o fruits,
vegetables, and animals to enjoy.  All was their's......all....
except....well one little tree that the Lord said was "off
limits" to them, troubles would surely come if they ate of the
fruit of that tree.
     One day both the man and his wife (Adam and Eve) were
strolling
around the garden, may be close to the tree and the fruit they
were not to touch or eat.  Then the one we now know as Satan the
Devil comes sweetly up to the woman, oh, was he about to butter
her up with deceptive words that would appeal to her vanity and
emotions.  We can read all about it in the first verses of
chapter three in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

     Did Satan turn on the charm?  You bet he did!  He soon had
Eve believing God was a liar, big time liar, and just not really
that generous, for God was holding back from them the wonderful
fruit that if eaten would make them like God, to know everything,
and what could be better than to know everything Satan told the
woman.
     Now Eve was created not as a robot for God to play with, but
as a free agent, able to make choices, to listen, to meditate, to
be influenced.  She was created with emotions and desires of the
natural fleshly mind.
     When all these natural abilities of the mind were
manipulated and influenced by the Devil, the woman was deceived
and took of the forbidden fruit, gave to her husband and they
both did eat. WAM BANG - SPLASH FLASH - BOOOOOM!  Their eyes were
opened to SIN!  They had encountered their first trial, test, and
trouble, and had fell headlong down into the pit.

     When God finally found them after they had run off to hide
from Him, He asked them questions that soon told Him the results
of the trial and test.  Oh, they were quick to "pass the buck" -
put the blame on everybody but themselves.  Now the truth was
that they had some responsibility in falling into sin and
disobeying the commandment of the Lord.  But I am not focusing on
that in this article.
     I want us to notice in this specific instance WHO started
this trial and tests for Adam and Eve.
     It was SATAN the Devil!
     We see from this first example of the Bible that the
Adversary can test and trouble us through our human mind,
emotions, and desires.

     There was a man in the land of Uz, his name was Job.  He was
perfect and upright, a man that feared the Lord, and avoided
evil.
     This man Job was so righteous that even God said to Satan
one day:  "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is
none like him in all the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one
that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" (Job 1:8).
     Ah, the Devil was not slow in answering God when he said: 
"Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast thou not made a hedge about
him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every
side? But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath,
and he will curse thee to thy face" (verses 9-11).

     The Lord then told Satan that all except the physical body
of Job was under his control (verse 12).

     And boy,, did Satan go to town on the things which belonged
to Job, including his sons and daughters.  Much of what Job had
was taken away from him, yet he did not sin or curse God (verses
21,22).

     Then it all happened again, Satan came before the Lord and
the Lord commended Job for his uprightness, but this time the
Devil wanted Job's skin, he wanted to nail Job to the wall we
might say.  And the Lord said okay, this time Satan would be
allowed to plague the very skin of Job (chapter 2 verses 1-7).
It is hard for me to imagine what it must have been like for Job
by the time Satan was done with him.

     Here in this example we can see that the Adversary can do
physical things against us, trials, tests, and troubles on the
physical level.

     The apostle Peter wrote: "Be sober, be vigilant because,
your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about,
seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith,
knowing that the same afflictions (trials, tests, troubles) are
accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" 
(1 Pet.5:8-9).

     Christians are not automatically immune from the attacks of
Satan, just as those in the world are subject to his wrath.
Mentally, the whole world has been deceived by the Devil
(Rev.12:9). He is basically in charge of and the ruler of the
nations of this earth, and will not be removed and chained until
Christ Jesus returns to usher in the Kingdom of God (Mat.4:1-10;
2 Cor.4:4; Eph.2:2; Rev.20:1-3).

     We see then that the Bible does clearly show that trials,
tests, and troubles, can come from our arch enemy - Satan the
Devil. And because Christians know that plain truth, some get
completely "demon eyed" not "starry eyed" but demon eyed. 
Everything that happens to them they think "the devils after me"
or "the demons are on my tail." I have known some people who
think when they trip over their feet, it was "the devil made me
do it" as the comedian Flip Wilson used to say.  Banging their
toe, or cutting their finger, running out of gas in their car,
and every other ill in life is due to the devil or demons, so
they assert.

     True, our Adversary and his helpers in the spirit world, are
often doing their damage in the lives of the physical humans on
this earth, but those who think trials, tests, and troubles, come
ONLY from the unseen world are woefully lacking in the knowledge
of the word of the Lord regarding this topic.  There is MUCH more
to this subject than merely Satan the devil.

     When you were reading (I hope you did) the first chapters of
the book of Job, all that was going on between Satan and the
Lord, I hope you picked up on another very important truth
contained there.  That truth is that God is MORE POWERFUL
than Satan!  The Devil has never ever been as powerful as the
Lord.  He may have wanted to be, he may have tried to unseat the
Lord from His throne at one time and become the most powerful in
the universe, but he did not succeed.  The Lord has ALWAYS been
more powerful than Satan.  The Devil can not do one thing unless
the Lord permits it! God is in overall charge of what is going on
in this universe. He could if He chose, utter the words and Satan
and the demons would be gone - banished, vanished, or totally
destroyed. Remember how Satan accused God of putting a hedge
around Job - a hedge of protection!  Yes, friend, God could if He
so chose, put a protective hedge around all of His children so
that there would never be any trials, tests, or troubles for
them.
     Satan did not have the power to take away that hedge around
Job. Satan is not as powerful as God, never was, is not today,
nor will he ever be!
     Remember what God said to Satan concerning Job, you can do
this to him Satan and no more.  Then later when Satan wanted even
more hedge removed from Job, it was God who had to say yes or no.

He allowed the Devil to attack the physical body of Job but he
was not to take his life.

     GOD IS SUPREME RULER, HE IS SUPREME IN AUTHORITY AND IN
POWER OVER THE  DEVIL!!

     SATAN CAN ONLY DO WHAT THE LORD PERMITS AND ALLOWS HIM TO
DO, NO MORE,  NO LESS!!

     GOD THE FATHER IS IN FULL CHARGE AND POWER AND AUTHORITY, HE
THEN IS WILLING TO TAKE ALL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL THINGS DONE IN
THIS UNIVERSE.

     That being the truth of the matter, we can now begin to
understand a verse in the Scriptures that shocks and puzzles
many.  It is found in the book of Isaiah - chapter 45 and verse
7.

     Let's start reading in verse five: "I am the Lord, and there
is none else, there is no God beside me......I am the Lord, and
there is none else.  I form the light, and create darkness: I
make peace, and CREATE EVIL: I the Lord do ALL these things."

     So the real bottom line of the WHO is behind the trials,
tests, and troubles of life, is THE LORD GOD IS!!

     IT IS THE LORD WHO ALLOWS THEM ALL, TAKING AWAY THE
PROTECTIVE HEDGE, PERMITTING US FREE AGENCY TO MAKE CHOICES,
PERMITTING SATAN TO DO HIS WORK AS HE ALLOWS, NOT MAKING HIS
CREATED PHYSICAL CHILDREN INTO ROBOTS, ALLOWING THE CARNAL WORLD
TO DO ITS OWN THING AND SO TAKING ITS TOLL. ALL THIS OFTEN
RESULTING IN EVIL, WHICH GOD PERMITS AND ALLOWS AS HE IS IN
SUPREME POWER AND AUTHORITY EVEN OVER THE DEVIL.


TRIALS AND TEST DIRECTLY FROM THE LORD!

     It is written: "And God saw the wickedness of man was great
in the earth...." (Gen.6:5). The time was in the days of Noah. 
God would destroy every living thing on the land, but Noah and
his family found grace (interesting - grace is not a New
Testament doctrine) in the eyes of the Lord.  He was told by God
to build an ark for the saving of many animals and his own
family.  It was also going to be 120 years before the flood would
come to cover the earth. God being God and able to do all things
could have made it easier on Noah.  He could have sent a death
angel to wander up and down killing all flesh except Noah, his
family, and certain animals.  But God chose to test and give Noah
the trial and trouble of building a huge wooden boat.  God chose
that Noah would have to preach the righteousness of the Lord to
the population around him, telling them about the coming judgment
of God for their sins.

     Can you imagine all the trouble Noah would face?  He would
have been laughed at and ridiculed, made fun of, and been the
standing joke of the society.  Some no doubt would have tried to
burn down or in some other way, destroy the ship as he and his
family were building it. Noah and his household (wife, sons and
their wives) were put "under the gun" - tested and tried, and in
this particular case IT WAS DIRECTLY FROM GOD! God commanded Noah
to build a ship in preparation for the watery deluge that would
come on the earth in 120 years.

     There was a man living in Haran, his name was Abram (before
it was changed to Abraham) and he was wealthy with cattle,
substance and servants. Have you ever been settled and content? 
You have a great job, a good pay-check each week, a wonderful
wife, land and investments, whereby you can hire people to look
after all that you posses.  You are quite happy and content where
you are, you have no dream of pulling up stakes and moving away
to anywhere. This was Abram's situation. He was also a God
fearing man.  Then one day, out of the blue, quite unexpectedly,
the God of the universe whom you served told you to pack up and
MOVE OUT!  He was to move to a land far away that God would show
him. This was not, "send out some servants first and they will
settle and prepare a home for you in the land that God would will
show you." 
     No!  This was, "YOU Abram, pack your suit case, tell all
with you to do the same and I the Lord will lead you to a land, I
promise you I will, it will be a land of promise."
     What GREAT faith Abram had to evidence!  Put yourself in his
shoes.  Do you not think Abram was being put to the test?  Do you
not think it was a BIG trial for Abram?  Do you not think it
would have been a monumental amount of trouble for Abram to get
up and head out with ALL his substance to a land unknown?
     It was all of this for Abram and it came DIRECTLY FROM GOD!

     This was not the last trial and test God was going to
personally send Abraham's way.  God had promised him and his wife
a son.  Finally after MANY years of waiting (that was a trial and
test also) the promised son arrived.  Then after a number of
years had elapsed God directly and personally told Abraham to
kill this promised son in sacrifice! (Gen. 22:1-2).
     Now if that would not have blown your mind I don't know what
would have.  You have waited all these years for this promised
son, finally the son arrives, he lives for some years, and then
God tells you to take him to a mountain and there offer him for a
burnt offering.  WOW!!  What a trial!  What a test! And it CAME
DIRECTLY FROM GOD!

     There was a young man who had many brothers, he was the
favorite of his father.  That fact alone could give you many
troubles as indeed it did for Joseph whom we are speaking about. 
He was the favorite son of Jacob his father. One day after all
Joseph's brothers had gone to feed their father's flocks in
Shechem, that Jacob sent Joseph to see how they were faring, if
everything was going okay for them. Well not everything was going
to go okay for Joseph that day - huge trouble was about to come
his way.  His brothers thought it was the opportune time to get
rid of this thorn in their flesh, once and for all - they would
kill him and make it appear that some beast had devoured him.  It
was Reuben and Judah who prevented him being killed
(Gen.37:1-36). It was finally decided that they would sell Joseph
to the Ishmelites (verses 27,28).

     Again put yourself in Joseph's sandals, having most of your
brothers wanting to kill you is no picnic, being thrown into a
pit is not a holiday in Hawaii, and then being sold to strangers
who would cart you off to who knows where, has got to be said to
be trouble.

     Joseph ended up in Egypt and did he ever find himself
getting into trials, tests and troubles, you bet he did, yet he
overcame and endured them.  So much so that Joseph was finally
made head over all Egypt under the Pharaoh (Gen.41:37-43).
     But what about the troubling situation that started the
whole thing - being sold by his brothers to the Ishmelites?  Was
that circumstance from Satan, from bad luck, or was it directly
from God, for some future purpose?
     Joseph was inspired to give us the answer.  It is recorded
in Genesis 45.  His brothers had come down into Egypt because of
the famine in Canaan, Joseph had played some head games with them
for some time, but when he finally decided to reveal himself to
them all he spoke these words: "And Joseph said unto his
brethren, Come near to me, I pray you.  And they came near.  And
he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.  Now
therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold
me hither: FOR GOD DID SEND ME BEFORE YOU TO PRESERVE LIFE....
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the
earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  So now it
was not you that sent me hither, BUT GOD" (verses 4-8).
     Joseph told them to go and bring back their father Jacob,
for all of them to come and live with him in Egypt, which they
did.

     So the trial, test, and trouble, Joseph faced when sold by
his brothers WAS FROM GOD, DIRECTLY, FOR A GREAT PURPOSE!

     Well, there are many other examples in the Bible that
clearly show that at times, some troubles, tests, and trials,
come to us specifically and directly from the Lord, for a reason
and for a purpose. Various are those reasons and purposes, but
one purpose they are NOT given for, and that we shall look at
next.

GOD DOES NOT TEMP US WITH EVIL

     Some, knowing that God does directly tesT  and try people at
times, will say that God is tempting us with evil, tempting us to
do evil, for if we fail in some test it may result in sin.
     The apostle James encountered this argument during his life
time. Trials, tests and troubles that Christians were
experiencing gave rise to the thought among some that God was
tempting people to do evil.
     He needed to answer that idea and he did in his letter that
bears his name.  Turn to James chapter one. I want you to note
verses 2,12,and 13. 
     I will quote from the well known Bible Commentary "Barnes'
Notes on the New Testament" the one volume edition, page 1356.

     "2....When you fall into divers temptations....It is now
commonly used in the sense of placing allurements before others
to induce them to sin, and in this sense the word seems to be
used in verse 13,14 of this chapter. Here, however, the word is
used in the sense of trials, to wit, by persecution, poverty,
calamity of any kind.  These cannot be said to be DIRECT
INDUCEMENTS or ALLUREMENTS to sin, but they try the faith, and
they show whether he who is tried is disposed to adhere to his
faith in God, or whether he will apostatize.  They so far
coincide with temptations, properly so called, as to test the
religion of men.  They differ from temptations, properly so
called, in that they are not brought before the mind for the     

purpose of INDUCING men to SIN. In this sense, it is true that
God never tempts men to sin, verses 13,14...."

Let us look at verse 13, I quote from the above commentary, page
1358.

     "13.  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of
God.... The apostle here seems to have had his eye on whether
there was a trial of any kind TO INDUCE US TO COMMIT sin -
whether by complaining, by murmuring, by apostasy, or by yielding
to sin.  So far as that was concerned, he said that no one should
charge in on God.  He did NOTHING IN ANY WAY WITH A VIEW TO
INDUCE men to do EVIL.  That was only an incidental thing in the
trial, and was NO PART OF THE DIVINE PURPOSE OR DESIGN.  The
apostle felt evidently that there was a great danger, from the
general manner in which the word temptation was used, and from
the perverse tendency of the heart, that it would be CHARGED ON
GOD that He so arranged these trials, and so influenced the mind,
as to present inducements to sin.
     Against this, it was proper that an inspired apostle should
bear his solemn testimony; so to guard the whole subject as to
show that whatever there was in any form of trial that could be
regarded as an inducement or allurement to sin, is NOT THE THING
which He contemplated in the arrangement, and DOES NOT PROCEED
from Him. It has its origin in other causes; and if there was
nothing in the corrupt mind itself leading to sin, there would be
nothing in the Divine arrangement that would produce it. For God
cannot be tempted with evil.....The object seems to be to
show that, in regard to the whole matter of temptation, it does
not pertain to God.  Nothing can be presented to his mind as an
inducement to do wrong, and as little can He present anything to
the mind of man to induce him to sin.  Temptation is a subject
that which does not pertain to Him.  He stands aloof from it
altogether....Neither tempteth he any man.  That is, He places
nothing before any human being with a VIEW TO INDUCE HIM TO DO
WRONG....that God does not place inducements before us with a
view that we should sin, or in order to lead us into sin.  None
of His decrees, or His arrangements, or His desires, are based on
that, but ALL HAVE SOME OTHER PURPOSE AND END.  The real force of
temptation is to be traced to some other source - to ourselves,
and not to God. See the next verse."

     The above quotes were emphasized by both myself and Barnes. 
I encourage the reader to obtain this Bible Commentary and read
all of Barnes' notes on these verses.
     His notes and comments on verses 14 and 15 are explicit in
explaining that yielding to sin is to be placed on man himself.

     Putting what Albert Barnes has said into more modern
language: God NEVER says "Now what trial, test, or trouble can I
send or allow to come upon this person in order to try and get
them to sin." God is not busy figuring out ways to entice humans
to yield to sin. He is not rubbing His hands together with glee
saying to Himself "Ah, this test will make that person sin -
yippee!"
     The troubles ' tests, and trials, that God sends and allows
to come man's way, has no connection whatsoever with sin.
     No one ever needs to fall into sin by ANY trial, test, or
trouble that may come.  Can I prove that from the Bible?  Yes, I
can!
     Leaving aside the perfect example of Christ Jesus who was
tested, tried, and troubled in MANY way, yet never once sinned. 
Leaving Jesus' example to one side because some would argue that
He had the Holy Spirit without measure from conception in the
womb of Mary. I will point you to the example of Job.
     Read again the first chapters of the book that bears his
name. Job was perhaps the most righteous man next to Christ who
ever lived. When God allowed Satan to trouble, test and hand out
trials that most of us have never come close to facing and
experiencing, Job DID NOT SIN!  He still blessed the Lord.  He
kept his righteousness. And was he righteous, oh yes, read the
rest of Job in a modern translation.  Job's problem was not sin,
even under severe trials, but his problem was SELF-righteousness.

     He just had never really seen himself next to the clear
perfect awesomeness of God. He did have one sin at least, the sin
of self-righteousness.  Job finally acknowledged it, repented of
it, and God once again blessed him abundantly, see chapter 42.

WHY THEN DO WE HAVE TRIALS, TESTS, AND TROUBLES?

     Most of us will have them, that is, tests, troubles and
trials.  They say that there are two things sure for us - death
and taxes. Well most of us will also face trials, and troubles in
one form or another, sometime in our lives.  So WHY does God
allow them to come upon us? If He controls everything, if He is
greater than Satan and the demonic world, why does not He
completely protect His children from all troubles and trials? 
Why does He not just give Christians a smooth, easy, trouble free
life until they sleep in death to await their crown of glory in
the resurrection?

     The apostle Peter was inspired to give us some of the
answers as to why God allows Christians to experience trials,
tests, and troubles.

     Turn to 1 Peter chapter four.  I will quote from the
Amplified Bible, beginning in verse 12.

     "Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the FIERY
ORDEAL
which is taking place to test your quality, as though something
STRANGE - unusual and alien to you and your position - were
befalling you.  But in so far as you are SHARING CHRIST'S
SUFFERING, rejoice, so that when His glory (full of radiance and
splendor) is revealed you may also rejoice with triumph -
exultantly.... Therefore, those who are ill-treated and suffer in
ACCORDANCE WITH GOD'S WILL must do right, and commit their souls
(in charge as a deposit) to the One Who created them and will
never fail(them)" (verses 12,13,19).

     Peter informs us about truths we have previously discussed. 
We are not to be shocked that trials and troubles come our way -
most people will experience them.  Jesus went through tests and
troubles, so His followers will probably have them also for it is
often the Father's will that it be so.  The tests and trials
prove our depth of character - are we really serious about
serving God?  As the saying goes "talk is cheap" but will we
continue to do the will of the Lord under difficult
circumstances?
     Whatever trial or trouble may come upon us, God has promised
He will never leave us, we can turn away from Him if we choose,
but He will never fail in helping us if we commit our lives to
Him.

     James also gave some answers as to why we have trials, tests
and troubles:

     "Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of
your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 
But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play
and do a thorough work, so that you may be (people) perfectly and
fully developed (with no defect), lacking nothing....Blessed,
happy, to be envied is the man who is patient under trial and
stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and
been approved he will receive (the victor's) crown of life which
God has promised to those who love Him....Every good gift and
every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes
down from the Father of all (James 1:3,4,12,17, Amplified Bible).

     Yes, many trials, tests, and troubles come as a gift from
God, to mature us, to develop us in true holy righteous
character.
     Let me try to put this in terms we as humans can understand.

     A Christian with the Spirit of God in them, has the nature
of the Father within (2 Peter 1:3,4). We shall say that holy
character of God within the Christian is a muscle.  For a muscle
to be strong and to enlarge in development it must be pitted
against some force or obstacle. Most body-builders pit their
muscles against heavy weights to strengthen and enlarge their
muscles.  Mr.Charles Atlas built his muscles by pitting one
against another, he called it "dynamic tension." But the point
is, through hard-work, hard-ship, strength is built.

     God did not create us as some kind of robotic machine, that
at the press of a button He would produce in us complete mature
holy character. He did not choose to do it that way. Trials,
tests, and troubles are often the means whereby God develops the
muscle of righteous character in us.  They are the heavy weights
or the "dynamic tension" we must muscle against to become fully
spiritually developed. The testing and trying of our faith (to
remain obedient to the way and will of God under difficult
situations) produces spiritual muscle - righteous character
(Ecc.1:13).

     Those athletes wanting to attain one of the three top medals
(gold, silver, bronze) in the Olympic Games, must be willing to
practice and strive against powerful forces in order to be one of
the three on the victors platform.  Most will never be up there
to receive a medal unless they are willing to face and endure a
lot of personal trials and troubles in preparing themselves for
the event of their choice.

     In all of this we must remember something that is very
important. Some could miss-understand, they might think that the
person who has the greater number of tests, trials, and troubles
in their Christian life is more spiritually mature or perfect
than the rest, or is being favored more by God for some special
purpose either here and now or in the life to come. That is not
necessarily so! There are many variables to consider in this
entire subject, not the least( probably the most important in
fact) is the will and the purpose of the Lord, that as human
flesh we often do not know. Who can fully understand why Abraham
was tested and tried in the way he was, while Daniel was tested
by being throw into the lions den, or his three friends into the
furnace of fire? Why did God say the apostle Paul would be
tested, tried and troubled so much, while others had it
easier(Acts 9:15,16)?  Some may think they know the answer but
the
truth is no one fully knows but God Himself.

     Turn to the Gospel of John, the last chapter, and read
verses 18 to 24.
     Jesus foretold that Peter would die a martyr's death while
John the beloved disciple would probably not.  That is the way
history tells us it happened - Peter was killed by being
crucified upside down, while John lived out a natural life into
old age. We could ask questions of why this or why that for one
person or another person. We could compare ourselves among
ourselves, but as Paul was inspired to tell us, that is NOT WISE
(2 Cor.10:12).

     When Peter tried to do that notice how Jesus answered him:
1"..... If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to
thee? follow thou me,, (John 21:22).

     It is God that works with and in us to do His good pleasure
(Phil.2:13). He is over everything, nothing happens without His
consent and allowing it, and some things are directly from Him. 
He deals on an individual basis with each of us.  It is folly to
concern ourselves and try to figure out how and why God gives or
allows this or that trial/trouble to come upon such and such a
person.  We need to have faith that the Lord loves and knows
exactly what He is doing with each of His children. Let God work
with others as He sees fit, we need just concern ourselves in
doing what Jesus said to Peter - "follow thou me."

     Sometimes the Lord may show you why He is giving or allowing
a specific trouble to come your way, maybe He will show you why
He is not removing it. This God did once do with the great
apostle Paul. He gave him a physical "thorn in the flesh" and
told him why He was not going to remove it - there was a purpose
behind it all (2 Cor. 12:7-10).

     I said sometimes God may choose to do this but not
necessarily all or every time.  There are times when it may seem
the Lord just does not make sense.  And that we shall look at in
more detail later.
                              ...............

TO BE CONTINUED


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