As I have lately been studying, meditating, and teaching on spiritual comfort, questions regarding the reasons for trials and troubles (whether big or small) have repeatedly surfaced. As I have searched out answers, one question has occupied my thoughts more than others:
How much does our sinful pride necessitate trials and troubles in our pursuit of Christ-likeness?
In other words, how successful would we be in putting pride and self to death if we did not have trials and troubles to attack our pride, humble us, and drive us to God for help and comfort?Thomas Charles (a preacher in North Wales in the 1770’s) writes:
The cross, which we must expect to meet daily in the way, will hurt nothing but sin and self: and surely we would not wish to spare them. I hope it is our happiness to think, that God is against them, and has determined their destruction in his own way. Blessed be the Lord, there is a world where righteousness only dwelleth, and where sin and self shall no more trouble us for ever!
I don’t know about you, but I do not often meditate on the necessity of trials in life. But it does make sense. If trials were not needful for His people, God would surely not cause or allow them. He does nothing without reason and He does nothing that is not for the good of those who love Him. So although they can be grievous and heart-rending, sometimes to the extreme, I am thankful for trials, not only because they do indeed “hurt” sin and self, but also because they drive us to God, who is the God of all comfort, and there is no better place to be than utterly and totally dependent upon Him! (2 Corinthians 1)