I write my posts several weeks in advance. As I prepare this post, I haven’t yet seen the specialist who will be diagnosing my autoimmune disorder this month. However, by the time you read this, I will have already been to see him. Scratch your head and puzzle over that for a few seconds.
To give me some time to ponder his diagnosis, today I’m featuring a post from 2014 for my own encouragement, as a reminder of God’s faithfulness, and to include you on my journey. I’ll have more about the diagnosis soon.
Why Trials? August 1, 2014
This week (in August 2014) I had an appointment to determine what autoimmune disorder is making me chronically fatigued. The doctor studied the last six months’ tests and procedures. He examined me, and we talked for an hour. Then he ordered even more tests.
Until yesterday I didn’t realize we were nowhere near diagnosing. I had expected an answer and a treatment plan. If you have an autoimmune disorder, go ahead and laugh. How naive! Right?
I wanted to know now! I’ve been sick for over a year. This seems long to me (at this point), so when he ordered more tests, I cried.
But he was unruffled. “We’ll keep testing until we find out,” he said. “We’ll figure it out.”
These are the cold, hard facts. If he doesn’t continue to relentlessly and thoroughly test, we’ll never know. I will simply continue with an unknown illness and increasing physical destruction. Likewise, if my faith isn’t tested in similar manner, I won’t know if it’s real, solid, and life-changing. Both must be tested.
God allows trials in our lives to prove or test the genuineness of our faith (1 Peter 1:6-7), to demonstrate that within these fragile jars of human clay the Spirit of God is at work (2 Corinthians 4:7-18), and to make us more compassionate people (2 Corinthians 1:3-11).
People who have Christ’s Spirit within them will react and act differently in trial than those who don’t. Or at least, we should. We hope. We need to have our faith tested, like gold is refined in fire, to see if our faith is real and producing growth.
I don’t want to continue being chronically fatigued, never knowing what’s gone wrong inside my body. Maybe it’s treatable. Maybe I can feel better. We must test, so we know.
Likewise, I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life—comfortable in my Christian routines, but untested—to find that my faith was merely something I repeated by rote or knew in my head, but which was never true and real in my life.
Neither do you. I want the evidence that the life of Christ dwells within this broken body of mine. So do you.
Christ indwelling us is our only hope of glory. Is he there?
If our faith is real, there will be the fruit of growth. Do we live our faith? Do we lean hard on Christ in trial? Are we transformed as a result? If we lose heart when our outer body is wasting away, do we renew our inner selves in Christ? If we run from God, do we return and yield ourselves to him again?
We must go through trial to determine this. Trial is God’s test to prove we are truly his. Just like I want my doctor to test my health, I should be even more desperate for God to test, refine, and prove my faith.
God’s eye is upon me. He knows the true condition of my heart.
His Word “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints of and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:12-13).
We need trials precisely because we are so closely and intimately scrutinized. We are often unaware of our own motives, intentions, and thoughts, until trial brings us face to face with ourselves. Seeing ourselves as we truly are brings repentance, growth, and change, as the Spirit sanctifies us.
Suffering teaches me the supremacy of the unseen and the spiritual, reminds me that my body will die and what I am in Christ will remain, and makes me a compassionate comforter of others. Trials teach me to build for eternity, to fix my eyes on the One I desire to focus on forever.
Do you see God’s purpose in testing?