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 Why Does God Allow Trials?

    * That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 1:7

   Do I dare to write about something so tender, so painful as this? I have hesitated for decades, to even talk about my deepest feelings in this matter. Yet I've been asked over and over again. The only contemplations I can give are from my own experiences.

   Life is an unpredictable experience. I'll share some of my most traumatic times.

   In mid-childhood, my wonderful mother went through a long time of very deep depression. She was suicidal. Many times I peeked into her bedroom to see if she was still breathing. My fear and dread were very great.

   In early womanhood I was betrayed in love. Another time, I was the victim of a violent crime. Another trial was when we had a house fire.

   Most difficult of all was when I became a bereaved mother, and my heart was broken.

   There is a reason behind any trial, whether small, or enormous. Many times we are not given this reason, nor should we think we should be. God knows the whole picture. We do not. Even if we don't know the reason for trials until we reach Heaven, we can be certain that there is one. We can know absolutely, that God works all trials for good, for those who love Him. The Bible tells us so. This trust is a blessing beyond words. I have even thought that I might not have this trust, if I had never known a trial. Where would I have learned it, if not through going to my Saviour in brokenness?

    * Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 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. 1 Peter 4:12,13

   This is a fallen and sinful world. Every person is given life, and a free will by our Creator, to follow Him, or not to. I assume that anyone reading this, has made their choice, and are saved. We have a deep desire to please God, getting ready for Heaven. So here is the hard question. Are trials required, in order for us to become wholly what God wants us to be? Would we ever know true and pure faith, if life went just the way we wanted it to? I think Jesus was teaching a truth that went beyond the physical healings in the Bible, when He stated:

    * ...thy faith hath mde thee whole; go in peace... Mark 5:34a

    * ... they faith hath made thee whole. Mark 10:52b

   When I was a child, my eyes changed radically after the measles. No one knew I needed glasses, so I experienced some bad times at school in gym class. Of all things, that was the year I had to learn baseball. No one wanted me on their team. Having been hit in the head with a ball, my instinct became to duck when anything was thrown at me. I knew it had been thrown, but could not see it coming.

   I am not a person who sweetly accepts my trials, by nature. Oh, not at all. Any time major life changes are flung at me, I have an instinct to duck. Life has held such radical and searingly painful changes, that I don't want to try to catch a new one out of the blue. I fear change. So normally I withdraw, miss, and it falls at my feet, or hits me in the head.

   But each toss is a test. Each toss is a challenge. Sometimes it just hits me like a ball that I cannot see in a school game. Sometimes it keeps coming back at me until I do catch it, and am forced to deal with it.

   Yes, life has been an unpredictable experience. I have felt like I was climbing a mountain, and continually falling down a longer distance than I managed to climb.

   But I am still alive, because and God wants me to be here. I am His beloved child, and I'll be here until it is His time for me to go.

   Exhaustion is a trial to me. I have dreams and nightmares about the past, and even though I do take medicine, I often cannot sleep. I am not emotionally ready to face a new day with weariness. Still, I have endured years of much worse exhaustion than this, when my children were young, and especially during the years when my son Travis was dying. I had to suction him, often give him oxygen, and care for him at night; as well as do everything in the daytime.

   Perhaps my trials are experiences that God wills me to go through, without being given a reason. Perhaps He is wondering if I am willing to take it, for His sake. Perhaps it is a test to see how obedient I am to His perfect wisdom and will. Perhaps I should be grateful that He loves me enough, and yes, trusts me enough, to work so long and hard on me!

   Why does our loving God allow terrible things to happen to us?

   The question should be: "why should He NOT?" We are here on this earth to prepare for eternity. If we had no finals in college, how would we know we were succeeding in learning? If we had no tests in life, how would we know we were achieving what we were supposed to be? How can we know anyway? It must be in the way we face and endure them.

   I am only a human being. I understand that God is far, far above me, in knowledge, wisdom, and holy love. I am willing to let God be God. He knows the reasons, and that's enough for me. In Heaven, where there are no more trials, and no more tears, I will know a joy that is far above any possible on earth. The greatest joy of all I can imagine, will be God's pleasure in me. Oh, how I want to please Him here on earth!

   If we have gone to the Lord with our anguish, and asked Him to comfort us, and help us through it, we have done the right thing. After over five decades of life, with God's help, I have reached the point where I thank the Lord for everything. That means trials too, because He allows them. This does not mean that I enjoy or understand them. Absolutely not. I simply believe, as the Bible says, that God has a master plan for each of us, which He made with infinite love.

    * ... for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer. II Thes. 1:4,5

   The way in which we endure trials, is certainly noticed and remembered by God.

For every grief, for every trial,
for every weary, lonely mile,
there is a reason.

For every pain that we must bear,
for every sorrow, every care,
there is a reason.

But if we trust God as we should,
all will work out yet for our good,
God knows the reason.

My mother taught me this poem nearly 50 years ago. The author is unknown

2006 Rosemary Gwaltney