TRIALS, TROUBLES, ADVERSITIES
DEFINITION: A trial is an examination by testing. Biblically, it is a test of faith in which you experience trouble or adversity. Trouble is sometimes referred to as “tribulation” in the Bible. Adversity is similar to trouble, meaning extremely unfavorable experiences.
FACTS ABOUT TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND ADVERSITIES:
A trial is not a temptation. A temptation is something that entices you to sin (see the topic of “Temptation” in this database). A trial is an adversity you are experiencing that tests your faith.
Trials, troubles, and adversities are experienced by all believers. In fact, the apostles taught believers that they would only enter the Kingdom of God through adversity (Acts 14:22). Peter said not to consider it strange or unusual when you encounter trouble (1 Peter 4:12).
God uses both positive and negative experiences for your good. Joseph told his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). The Apostle Paul declared: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)
DEALING WITH TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND ADVERSITIES:
Expect to experience adversity. Peter said not to be surprised by it (1 Peter 4:12-16). The apostles taught the early church that it was to be experienced as part of living in the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).
Pray about your trials, troubles and adversities. The Bible says that God has promised to hear before you call and even while you are yet speaking (Isaiah 65:24). Confess your total dependence on Him. Instead of asking “What am I going to do in this adversity?” ask God, “What are You going to do?”
Immerse yourself in the Word of God. The Bible brings comfort and direction during trials, troubles, and adversities.
Use your spiritual weapons. Trials, troubles, and adverse circumstances must be faced with your spiritual weapons. Study Ephesians 6:10-18. See also “Spiritual Warfare” in this database.
Remember that good things comes from God. If something comes to rob, steal, or destroy in your life, do not blame God. It is from the enemy. Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). James said: “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:16-17).
Remember that there is divine purpose in adversity. Your faith is being refined (1 Peter 1:6-7) and spiritual qualities are being developed in your life: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
Focus on eternal benefits. The Bible indicates that trials actually work for you when you are focused on the eternal benefits of the trials instead of the temporary problems: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Rejoice in times of adversity. The Bible commands you to rejoice and give thanks to God in times of adversity. You may not feel like doing this, but do it as an act of your will (See 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-17). You do not give thanks for the adversity, but in the midst of and in spite of it.
Remember these six “p”s of adversity.
- Purpose: God has divine purpose in your trial.
- Profitable: Your trial is profitable if you submit to God and trust Him.
- Presence: God will be with you in your trials.
- Prove: Your faith will be proven by the difficulties.
- Produce: Your trial will produce positive spiritual qualities in your life.
- Perspective: You will emerge with a new perspective.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND ADVERSITIES:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20)
But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. (2 Chronicles 15:4)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. (Psalm 22:11)
The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. (Psalm 25:17)
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)
I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. (Psalm 31:8)
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7)
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Psalm 34:6)
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:17-19)
May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion. (Psalm 35:26)
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)
For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. (Psalm 40:12)
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
…call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:15)
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalms 59:16)
Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. (Psalm 69:17)
In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. (Psalm 86:7)
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (Psalms 91:15)
Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. (Psalms 102:2)
Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies. (Psalms 108:12-13)
Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight. (Psalm 119:143)
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. The Lord will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalms 138:7-8)
I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. (Psalm 142:2)
For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. (Psalms 143:11)
If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! (Proverbs 24:10)
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. (Isaiah 49:13)
… no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. (Isaiah 54:17)
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24)
The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:22)
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4).
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
… that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. (1 Thessalonians 3:3, NKJV)
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:16-17).
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. (James 5:13)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Peter 4:12-17)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:7-10)
Study the story of Job–especially chapters 1-2 and chapter 42–to understand more about the purpose of trials.