Our Pages

Are trials making you bitter or better?


Are trials making you bitter or better?
Posted on February 9, 2020  - By Kendall Lyons

The idea of trials, tribulations and challenges being something good for you is radical for some. Most of us would prefer a life that’s easy and happy, not challenging. But to take on the task of doing what God has called you to do, even if it feels inconvenient or intimidating, is not only healthy but beneficial for growth in one’s walk of faith.

Troubles in our life can test our emotions, weigh down our hearts, and cause us a great deal of mental, spiritual and physical stress. But they also give us an opportunity to experience God’s blessings in the midst of our sorrow. Those blessings can come by way of a closer relationship with God and grow us spiritually in places that we are not quite mature.

Trials can cause us a great deal of stress, but they also give us an opportunity to experience God’s blessings

Now, we have two options: we can either allow those trials and tribulations to make us bitter — or use them to make us better. Yes, we should allow ourselves to recognise and acknowledge the pain and suffering that take place when we are in the middle of our circumstances. But, those who truly know God as Father and Jesus as Lord have the opportunity to take their thoughts and emotions to Him through prayer.

Consider it joy

Nobody wants to suffer harm or experience pain, especially not willfully. But, we are also told in Scripture that some degree of suffering is inevitable. When we do face life’s troubles, we can take to heart God’s Word and be encouraged by what it says about our situation.

James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

In Christ, we can consider what we’re going through with a joy that makes evident that the Lord is giving us the strength and understanding necessary to keep pressing on. Not only that, but we are encouraged to know that the testing of our faith produces patience. When things are not as easy as we hope for them to be, we can take confidence in knowing that the Lord can and will use those moments to make us more patient and more mature in our responses to trials and tribulations.

He will perfect us

The text also reminds us to allow patience, or perseverance and endurance, to “have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Whenever we feel discouraged during those times of trouble, we are reminded in Romans 8:28 that the Lord has every intention to work things out for the good of those who love Him and for His glory.

We are also encouraged by passages like 1 Peter 5:10, that says, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

Christian believers understand that God, who is full of grace and who called us into Christ, will “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle” us. The NIV translates the text, stating that God will make us “strong, firm and steadfast”.

As we face our challenges, we are met with God’s unmerited favour, or grace. Though we do not deserve His protection, strength, power or love, He continues to gift us with everything we need to be able to meet challenges — all by His grace.

Kendall Lyons

About Kendall Lyons

Kendall Lyons is an author, minister and the communications director for Criswell College in Dallas. cartoonist. Married to his wife and best friend Rachel, he is also an ordained preacher, author of a couple of books and the creator of a webcomic called "By and By".



Get a notification in your Inbox

A weekly brief of new resources and Scripture-based insights from our editorial team.