Why trials and tests in my life?
Let us go back to our school and college days. Professor teaches you some important concepts, allow you to research and experiment the concepts introduced in the class and then an evening of test where the students will be tested what and how much they learned. A couple of questions in the test would puzzle us. Then the students would wonder with amazement -what in the world that means? I have no clue what that means?
Divine school of God also has the same pattern. First teachings, then researches and practicals and finally the test day come.
The question needed to be answered by all generation is this question disciples asked in Matthew 8:27 about Jesus Christ. It is recorded like this – “And the men were amazed and said, “What sort of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!” The Bible says they were afraid after witnessing Christ’s power and authority over nature- over the sea, wind, and waves.
After a long and amazing teaching session on the mountain called ‘the sermon on the mount’ which is described in Matthew chapters 5-7, Christ gave them practical lessons by performing several signs. Some are listed below.
a. Immediate healing of a leper
Matthew 8:1-3, “when Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
b. Roman centurion’s paralyzed servant
Matthew 8:5-13, “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”…. “Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.”
A Roman Centurion’s servant who was lying paralyzed at home was healed by Jesus at the very moment when Jesus said to the Centurion he will be healed.
c. Peter’s mother in law and several others including those who were demon-possessed.
Romans 8:14-17. “When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
So far so good but what did they learn?
They enjoyed beautiful sermons, many practical lessons. Now the test time is ready to discover whether they learned what they were supposed to learn?
By the way, what were they supposed to learn by this time? Among many other things, Jesus taught them a big lesson in the sermon on the mountain in Matthew 6:25-33. That is this – don’t worry about life. Worry and anxieties belong to pagans- the people who are not connected to the living God in and through the Lord, Jesus Christ. He said the pagans run after these things because of their worries regarding life, but your heavenly Father knows all your needs. So what? Stop worrying and seek his kingdom and righteousness. In other words- seek God and His plans and agenda. If you stop worrying and seek God’s plan and agenda, all your worries will be taken care off by God. Do not worry about tomorrow. Then another amazing statement from Him –‘But tomorrow will worry about itself’.
Secondly, Jesus taught in Mathew 7:24-27. He warned them -the rain will come, the flood will come and winds will blow and beat against their spiritual life. But they will not fall if they build their life on the foundation of the rock – which is the instruction and teachings of Jesus and the Bible because the verse 24 says, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice will not be crushed down when rain, flood, and wind blew and hit hard. Therefore hearing and practicing the Word of God is the secret for your protection against the dangerous winds and rains. In contrast, whoever builds his life on sand will be crushed down when rain, flood, and strong winds hit them. Sand is not strong to build your edifice. You need a strong foundation of rock which is Christ and the Bible – the Word of God.
See there are two groups of people in this world. One group takes time to hear, listen and practice the Word of God – the Bible- the foundation of rock. The second group doesn’t care about God and His eternal word. They build their life on sand – which is moving and strong. They build their life on world’s, people’s, culture’s, traditions and self-opinion. They don’t take time to read, understand and practice what God said in the Bible.
Now the test is on in the middle of the sea.
Jesus told the disciples to depart to the other side of the sea. He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him.
Matthew 8:24-27. “And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” 26 He *said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
Why did I say test time? Because after all the miraculous signs He performed, Jesus wanted to know if the disciples understood who He really is and what He taught them? Notice the passage says Jesus was sleeping in the boat. Does this not happen in our life? You and I are in the midst of storms. You see, Jesus was sleeping. He is silent. Not because He doesn’t care but He wanted to test how they would handle the stormy situation after all these lessons they learned from Him. Watch out! The silence of God may well be our test times. We feel worried and fearful and imagine God doesn’t care. But that is not true. God is right there with you in the midst of your trials and tests. And He is interested to see what you are going to do with all the lessons you learned from Him so far. His intention is not to find fault with you or blame you. But He wants to take you to another level of imparting the eternal God’s truth by removing the hindrances and imperfections currently restricting you to fly high. You will come out of it victoriously with more in-depth knowledge and personal conviction of the sufficiency of Christ in your life. This is what happened to the disciples in the boat and that is what going to happen to us as well.
It says there arose a great storm on the sea, and the boat was being covered with the waves. This is the nature of our storms as well. Storms come with no prior notice. The disciples were afraid that they were going to perish in the sea. In fact, they really blew it when they said: “we are perishing”.
Did they forget who is there in the boat with them? They still didn’t really understand who Jesus really is. That is our problem as well in the midst of our tests and trials. If Jesus was with them in the boat, how would they perish?. It doesn’t matter if Jesus sleeps or not. They will not perish just because of the fact that Jesus is with them in the boat.
Jesus said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith.” Men of little faith”- was their problem. We talk about faith and share with others the importance of faith. But when storms hit hard in our lives, are we still remain as men and women of little faith? or our faith is big enough to handle the storms with calmness and quietness understanding Jesus is there in our lives? Jesus got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. Mark 4:39 tells us how Jesus rebuked the winds and the seas. It says, “And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, Be still.” Then the next verse says, “And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.” See, Just one rebuke- “Hush, Be still.” The sea, wind, and waves obeyed Him and the great storm died out instantaneously.
An honest question all people should answer.
Then they said, “Who then is this, the even the wind and the sea obey Him?” This is a question people in all generations should ask, right? Who is Jesus?
Psalm 65:7 says God is the one who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of the waves and tumult of the people. Psalm 89:9 says God rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, God still them. Psalm 107:29 says, “He (God) caused the storm to be still so that the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Hey, the Jewish Bible in Psalms describes God is the one who stills the waves and seas. This is what Jesus did right in front of their eyes. They should have recognized Jesus as God. Because only God has authority and power over nature. The answer to the above question “Who is this person that even the wind and the sea obey Him” is this -Jesus is God wrapped in flesh so that you and I can know and experience the invisible God, He is Immanuel meaning God with us, His name is Jesus because He will save his people from their sins, the Lord of Lords, King of all kings, Presidents of all presidents, the creator and ruler of all, creator of the earth and sky and innumerable stars, sun and moon. Jesus is the promised seed who crushed devil’s head although devil tried to struck Jesus’s feet (Genesis 3:15(b). Jesus is the ultimate defeater of Satan and demons and the savior of the mankind and the provider of spiritual life and eternal/everlasting life. Bible declares in Colossians 2:14-15 says, “having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he (Jesus) made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Not only Jesus is the fulfillment of the seed promise who crushed the head on the cross of Calvary by paying by his blood our indebtedness of debt toward a holy God, which is our sin, the Bible says in Colossians 1:15-17, “The Son (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He (Jesus) is before all things, and in him (Jesus) all things hold together.”
The disciple’s test was on their understanding of who Jesus really is and whether they can bank on what He promised.
Our test and trails are the same though it appears in several different forms in today’s culture- broken relationships and consequent pain and frustrations, rebellious kids, lay off and health issues, the death of dear ones etc.
Are you facing a severe storm now? If not, get ready, you will face a storm in future. No one is exempt from test and trails. Someone said like this. There are only three possibilities. You just came out of a trial or test, you are in the middle of it and you are getting ready to enter another one.
When you think about our storms of life, remember the storm has a purpose behind it. Storms are our test time about our faith and trust in Christ. A child of God never need to think he or she will perish during the storms of our lives no matter how hard and fearful it may look like.
This is the truth. You will never walk alone in the midst of a test or trail. Don’t be afraid! God is closer than ever when you go through severe trials and tests. This is the good news. Bible says in Psalms 46:1-3 says God is our all present help in our troubles. Read how this is described there- “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”
Do you know what ‘selah’ means? It means stop and quietly think or ponder about what has just said above. Let us stop and think about what God said in Psalm 46:1-3. Read again and again.
Remember Daniel and his three friends when they were placed in blazing fire, the king said we placed only three in the fire but then he said he is seeing a fourth person walking with them right in the middle of the fire along with the three and the fourth person looked like ‘the son of the gods’. The truth is the Son of God (the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ) walked with them in their fiery testing time, right in the midst of the fire.
God tested Abraham’s faith in Him by asking him to sacrifice his own and most beloved son. But Abraham was not alone there. God prepared a ram caught up by its horns in a thicket in the place of his beloved son, Isaac. However, Abraham didn’t know until he fully obeyed God in what God asked him to do.
What is the outcome of your tests or trials?
What is the outcome of our test or trails? In all the above cases and other cases that Bible unfolds, the outcome is one and it’s clearly seen. We will wonder at the greatness of God, the power of God and the faithfulness of God after the storm. Typically, we will come out the tests and trials with a thurst and a deep hunger for God, even if we failed the test miserably. This is the final result of the test at the end. Remember, the storms will not last forever. However, we may not appreciate the trial and test times of our lives. Also, we may not fully realize God’s greatness, power, and faithfulness when we are in the midst of trails. But you will look back later and see God’s hand protected you and provided a way out. Child of God, be calm and not be afraid. Let the full course of testing or trials run its course.
They safely reached the other side. There two violent demons possessed were healed and restored.
After the boat safely reached the other side of the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men were restored. Matthew 8:28-33 describes this event. The men were living in a graveyard and were so violent. The Bible says no one could go that way because of them. They were possessed by demons and demons inside them requested Jesus and said if He is going to drive them out from the two men, send them into the herd of pigs. Jesus said, “Go”. Bible reports that the demons left the two men and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down to the lake and died in the water. The two men were freed from the demons.
Who is Jesus by the way?
See, Jesus Christ has power and authority over people, sickness, demons, Satan and nature in the above-cited incidents.
Answer the question by yourself – Who is Jesus to you? You may have been thinking Jesus is a good teacher, a philosopher or a good person etc. Do you see, Jesus Christ is God who has the divine power and authority over people, sickness, Satan, demons, and nature? He did things only God could do. Jesus said those who have seen Him have seen the father God (John 14:9). Jesus also said He is the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the father but through Him (John 14:6).
God is invisible. But don’t you want to see God? Look at Jesus. Read the Bible especially New Testament and decide for yourself who Jesus is. He is full God and full man -100% God and 100% man. I know it’s not easy for us to imagine. But only such an incarnation (God and man) could save human beings from their fallen nature of sin and deliver them fully and completely by paying with His own divine and precious blood. Bible says in 1 Peter 1:18-20 how people can be delivered and saved. It says, “you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.”
Only the blood of Christ can save and deliver you.
God and silver or money cannot save you. Nothing else and no other names or power can deliver and save you. Only the blood of Christ. It will save you and present you in front of God holy and blameless with no blemishes, stains or guilt. Bible says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns.” Romans 8:33-34. Nobody will be able to condemn you because God is the one who declares you not guilty and justified you because you took hold of the shed blood of Christ for the remission of your sins.
You see, there is no other way to approach the living and Holy God. Due to sins, humans cannot approach the holy God. But now come to holy God and you can become a child of God by the way of the blood of Christ which paid for your sins. Only the blood of Christ can wash away all your sins and makes you perfect in the presence of God.
Prayer time: Are you a believer in Christ facing test or trials? Please know God is closer to you than any other time of your life. Understand the purpose behind the storm and apply what you learned from Him prior to this storm. Don’t be afraid. Christ will never leave you no matter what. Please send me your prayer requests. A body of believers will pray for you. We will be happy to do this for you.
Not a believer in Christ yet? Who do you think Jesus is, based on what we discussed above? This is the moment of your eternal salvation. Christ is at the door of your heart and knocking. Will you open your heart and accept Christ as your savior today? He is the only one who is able to help and deliver you from all your problems including your sins and addictions.
Pray with me like this. “Lord Jesus, I believe you came to this world to save me from my sins and grant me forgiveness and eternal life. I accept you as my savior and Lord today. Please come to my heart and save me today. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, please go to contact/prayer tab and send me a note. I will be thrilled to hear from you.