God takes no delight in the testing of His children. The Bible says Christ is sympathetic toward us in all our trials, being touched by the feelings of our infirmities. In Revelation 2:9 He tells the church, “I know thy . . . tribulation, and poverty.” He is saying, in essence, “I know what you’re going through. You may not understand it, but I know all about it.”
It is essential that we comprehend this truth, because the Lord does test and try His people. Scripture says, “Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried” (Psalm 66:10). “Your faith . . . be tried with fire” (1 Peter 1:7). “The Lord trieth the righteous” (Psalm 11:5).
Indeed, everyone who follows Jesus is going to face afflictions. The Psalmist writes, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous” (Psalm 34:19). Paul speaks of having “much affliction and anguish of heart . . . with many tears” (2 Corinthians 2:4). And Hebrews describes saints who are “destitute, afflicted, tormented” and “[enduring] a great fight of afflictions” (Hebrews 11:37, 10:32).
The fact is, the Bible says a great deal about suffering, trials and troubles in the lives of believers. According to the Psalmist, “My soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave” (Psalm 88:3). Likewise, David writes of enduring “great and sore troubles” (71:20).
I can’t name a single follower of Jesus who hasn’t endured all of these things that Scripture mentions: trials, tribulations, troubles, afflictions, anguish. I know I can say along with David, “I have endured sore and great troubles and trials.” And I know that many others reading this message can say, “That sums up my life right now. I’m facing several anguishing trials and afflictions.”
For this reason, every Christian has to know and accept that God has a purpose in all our sufferings. No test comes into our lives without His allowing it and one of God’s purposes behind our trials is to produce in us an unwavering faith. Peter writes, “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). Peter calls these experiences “fiery trial(s)” (4:12).