things do get better or you die

July 17, 2016

Treasure after


Finally the last part, how to deal with trials, a practical approach.

As we continue to consider the topic of trials in the life of a believer, we want to look at some other passages that may help us see them from God’s perspective.

Read James 1:2-4, 12.

  1. Explain the process and outcomes of trials that James describes.

  1. What is your attitude to be in the midst of these trials? Why can you have this attitude according to James?

So often we hear the question, “How can a good God let this happen?” We need to remember in the midst of our trials that death, disease, and war entered the world because of the sin of mankind. Our lives involve pain and death because we are sinners. If you do not know the story of how sin entered this world, read Gen. 3.

Read John 9:1-3.

  1. What was the purpose of the illness of this man that Jesus met?

The disciples believed that all illness was caused by specific sin in the person’s life. We must never assume that any individual sickness or trial is because of that person’s sin. That can be the case, but only God can reveal the reason for any trial, and we outsiders do not need to know. God gives us info only on a need to know basis I don’t need to know why you are experiencing a trial.

When I encounter a difficult circumstance, I take it before Lord for understanding. God does discipline us when we need it and we must be sensitive to what He is telling us in the midst of trials. It is hard to consider that we have sinned and that God is disciplining us for it. Our hearts are deceptive and we prefer to ignore our own sins or to minimize them.

  1. List everything that you learn about God’s discipline in Heb. 12:5-11.

  1. Sharing question: Describe a time in your life when God disciplined you or when others attributed a trial in your life to your personal sins. How did you respond? How did it make you more mature in the Lord?

    Diamonds in the Word – Use your concordance to look up discipline, especially in the book of Proverbs. What do you learn about disciplining children?

What we learn from the verses we have seen this week is a larger perspective, the big picture, concerning trials in our lives. When we encounter difficult circumstances, God wants us to get a broader point-of-view than we can see from within the situation.

Reread 1 Peter 1:3-13; James 1:2-4, 12; Rom. 8:18-30; Heb. 12:5-13.

  1. Summarize what you learn from all these passages about the larger perspective of our trials, i.e. what are some of God’s purposes when believers face trials.

  1. What truths have you learned from these passages about how to respond to trials?

These truths can help give us the hope and the joy that we are to have during hard times. However, often people need assistance to refocus on God and His goodness. I have learned to pray for God’s wisdom in encouraging others because sometimes quoting Rom. 8:28 makes their sorrow or distress seem wrong or trivial. I have to be sensitive to their feelings in the words that I choose to bring comfort to them. We can have joy and sorrow at the same time, and we have to allow believers to deal with pain, which is not a sinful feeling.

  1. Sharing question: What are some ways that other believers have helped you see the big picture when you have dealt with difficult times?

    Diamonds in the Word –What passages have helped you personally to make it through hard times?

The thing about difficult circumstances is that they are so… well, wearing! One or two – maybe even three difficulties at the same time can be dealt with, but when crisis upon crisis occurs like dominos falling, your body and mind do not have time to recover before the next crisis hits. The impact of stress on the body and mind leave you depleted of internal resources to cope, and you find yourself in despair. What can you do when you reach this level of physical, emotional, and spiritual weariness?

There was a time years ago when I found myself in this state. depression, death of loved ones, neck surgery, loss of friendships and other disappointments had taken their toll on my mind and body. I felt I was so buried in despair I could never dig my way out. But I refused to give in to the pressure to give up and walk away from God. A few years prior to that time, I watched as people I knew and loved turned their back on God, and what they knew to be the right thing, in order to do what was right in their own eyes. I knew I did not want to do the same thing. Deep down, I knew that turning away from God was not the answer even though at times I felt forsaken.

When I sat down to pray, the words would not come. I found myself crying to God saying “O God, please do not let me go. Even though I have lost my grip on you, please do not let me go but keep me in the palm of your hand.”

As I cried out to Him, I found Psalm 101:3. The words of this verse were like a surge of energy to my soul. “I hate the work of those who fall away. It shall not fasten its grip on me” (NASB)

This verse became my commitment to the Lord during a difficult time. My commitment was that I would not allow life’s troubles to fasten their grip on me forcing me away from God and my faith. I felt I was losing my grip, but I also knew of God’s promise to never leave me nor forsake me. I clung to that promise even during the times when I questioned it.

God heard the cry of a wounded heart, a defeated mind, and a weary body. He brought me out of the miry clay, set my feet upon the Rock, and filled my mouth with praise to My God. Psalm 40:1-3. He healed my broken heart, and has used the difficulties of my past to soften me in response to the pain of others. He has forced me, through my own suffering, to be more flexible, understanding, and patient when faced with the suffering of others. Broken relationships in my life have been mended because I am more forgiving having been taught forgiveness while in the fires of tribulation. I didn’t like having to go through everything I went through, but God was with me through it all and has not wasted the experiences but is using them for His glory.

When trails come, it is so important to cling to what we know to be true from God’s Word because His promises are true! The answer to the question in the first paragraph is “fight back”. Don’t give up… don’t give in, but fight back with Truth!

    He will hear when you cry out to Him – Psalm 40:1

    He will comfort you – Isaiah 66:13

    He will be a refuge and source of strength to you – Psalm 46:1

    He will rescue you from despair – Psalm 42:11

    He will fill your heart with peace – Phil. 4:7

    He will fill your mouth with praise – Psalm 63:3

Thanks be to God that as I place my trust in Him no matter what life brings my way, I am blessed!

  1. Response to God: Write a prayer in which you are completely honest with God about how you feel about a current trial or difficulty. Ask God to give you the grace to make it through whatever you are dealing with in your life right now. Ask Him to give you hope and joy in the midst of this situation.

  1. Write a note to a friend who is struggling in their life to encourage them. Write a prayer for them that God will bring gold within from the ashes. Sometimes people get so hurt and so discouraged that they feel their prayers go no higher than the ceiling. Trust God to give you the right words, that will help the dam break and joy and healing begin.

God bless from


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