Expanded July 3, 2018
Pastor Bob Hammond
Many times, people ask why the LORD allows us to experience serious illnesses and other trials.
Often, we see that that the LORD allows great trials into our lives in order to get our attention. In Psalm 119:67, the psalmist wrote, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.” How true it is that the LORD can use serious afflictions to bring us to Him!
Other times, the LORD simply wants us to experience His comfort so that we can be better-equipped to comfort others. Consider this verse that Paul wrote to the church members at Corinth:
(2 Corinthians 1:3-5) Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
Of course, in the case of Job, we also see that, sometimes, the trial has nothing at all to do with us! But the LORD can still use our response to the trial as a testimony to others -- as He did when Paul, Silas and Timothy were imprisoned at Philippi (Acts 16).
Thankfully, we can know that the Lord's grace is sufficent to enable believers to endure trials. In 2 Corinthains 12:9, Paul writes of Christ's response to his prayer for deliverance from a physical trial. There, Christ asserts, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." And so Paul responded, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
It is also wise to bear in mind that both Peter and James express the Lord's desire that we rejoice in trials -- knowing that He is working in trials to accomplish our growth. In James 1:2, the Lord commands, "... count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
And in 1 Peter 4:12, the Bible say, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."
Praise God for the knowledge that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).