Making Most of our Troubles in Christ

by Frank Jones


And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love  of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

The pilgrimage of a Christian is hedged because the way is narrow and straight. The pathway to heaven is constrictive and pressing. Yet it is in the crucible of tribulation the glory of God is witnessed. According to our text, a believer has a different viewpoint on the trials of life. The trial of a believer becomes the starting point of Christian growth. Think about those truths of God that have come forcibly upon your soul. Did they not come as a result of an answer to a time of trial, an answer to sustain us in the midst of a trial, or an answer to prepare us for trial? The life of God in the soul of man becomes vibrant and alive in the midst of the fiery furnace. The Lord Jesus Christ places an inestimatable price upon the trial of genuine faith.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)

Trial and suffering fit a man not only for heaven but for usefulness. A trial-less Christian is without compassion, mercy, and grace. He does not know his own wretchedness. This man becomes self-righteous. May we all this day submit to the Musician of our souls, Jesus Christ. May our faith be found unto praise and honour and glory when He appears. May the fruitfulness of hope, being not ashamed, be evident to all those around us. Pastor Benjamin Palmer spoke along these lines.

"... Let us make the most of our trials. They may be severe; but in this severity, they may be the particular form in which it pleases our Father that we shall give our testimony. In that case our sorrow is our glory. There is many a bed-ridden saint, who for years has been tossing upon the couch of weariness and of pain, and experiencing a thousand martyrdoms. He is a witness for the grace of God. He is, as truly as Daniel in the lion's den, a prophet for God ... Oh! it is a crown, brother, for you, not of shame nor of dishonor, if, in the patient endurance of affliction and reproach, you are able to turn to God and feel that he will at last make you more than conqueror through Him that loved you. Do not be afraid, in the utmost severity of God's discipline, that He will pass the bounds of a just measure.

The human heart is like a harp, and all these affections are but the chords of that harp; and the only being who knows skillfully to play upon that harp, is He that made it. If He, the Master of the song, turns the screw, and strains the chord even until it threatens to snap, do not fear. 'The man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,' who went down into the bowels of the curse for redemption - He is the musician whose hands are upon the chords and keys of this mysterious instrument. He will turn those screws, and stretch those chords to the point when they should crack and part. But no, He only brings them to the right tension; so that when His blessed finger shall sweep across the strings, each shall give tis proper note - and all shall blend in eternal harmony of praise unto 'Him that loves us'" (Benjamin Palmer)