Many times we question God’s sovereignty as we verbalize the familiar: “Why is this happening to me?” “I don’t need this!” “Not now, God!” or “I just can’t take anymore!”
But isn’t that just human nature? Who hasn’t cried out to God in pain and utter disbelief?
Webster’s Dictionary defines the three “T’s” this way:
Trial – a test of faith, patience, or stamina by suffering or tribulation; a source of vexation (irritation) or annoyance.
Trouble – to agitate mentally or spiritually; to disturb.
Tribulation – distress or suffering as a result of oppression or persecution.
I Peter 1:7-9 says, “…Though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ… receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.”
Paul ~ Saul (Paul) was dramatically converted by the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus as he was carrying letters of destruction for those who were of the Way [followers of Jesus] to put them to death in Jerusalem. When Jesus selected Ananias to minister to Paul after his vision, He said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
After that time many attempts were made to kill Paul by the Jews (Acts 10:23), the Hellenists (Acts 10:29), and with Barnabas in Antioch where they were threatened, persecuted and expelled. II Corinthians 11 enumerates for us Paul’s many trials and troubles including being stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, lashed, and left for dead. There was sharp contention between him and Barnabas while on their missionary journeys that split up the pair, resulting in Paul and Silas teaming up to minister to the Gentiles.
At the end of his life, while in prison, Paul addresses Timothy in his two epistles. As he encouraged the young pastor, Paul remained steadfast in his faith and mission, while acknowledging that all forsook him, save the Lord Jesus. Paul endured the constant pressure of a lifetime of trials, troubles, & tribulations, and yet he saw God’s purpose and sovereignty in all of it. Paul’s victory was this: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear” (II Timothy 4:17).
In the end, we come forth: precious, valuable and exquisite – a true treasure of God, for His Glory!
God never leaves the metal in the crucible longer than what is necessary for the burning away of the dross. He will do the same on our behalf.