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Why does God allow trials in our lives?

January 22nd, 2009 Posted in encouragement, family, Pastor's corner, questions

There are many things that could be said in response to that particular question, but here is one you may not have considered: God allows trials and hardship in your life so you can help others. As a result, whatever difficulty, challenge, or suffering you may be going through need not be wasted.

Paul writes, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer” (2 Corinthians 1:4-7 NLT).

James MacDonald at Harvest

For the last few weeks, Pastor James MacDonald has been speaking at our church on the topic of turning your trials into gold.

What makes this series especially poignant is the fact that James is delivering these messages while undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

Therefore, there is a power and authenticity to his messages that has powerfully resonated with all who have heard them. That is because he is giving them in “real time,” personally living the truths he is proclaiming.

But James has also found that there is no better time to minister to others then when you are hurting.

That doesn’t make sense!

It seems that when we are in need, when we are facing crisis, the world should just stop what it is doing and think about us. We think that we need to be cared for, encouraged, even catered to.

But the reality is that when you are hurting, if you will reach out to someone else, you yourself will be replenished and helped.

Jesus said, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving–large or small–it will be used to measure what is given back to you” (Luke 6:38 NLT).

There is always someone worse off than you

People have commended me and our family for continuing to minister, despite our pain over the death of our beloved son Christopher. While I appreciate those kind words, I must tell you that it actually helps me to help others.

My heart goes out to other people who are suffering like it never has before, especially if it is the death of a child. So it helps me to help them. Even writing these words help me, knowing that they may minister to someone, somewhere.

I’m sure you know of someone who is hurting right now. Perhaps they have cancer, or have recently lost a loved one, or their marriage has unraveled. Go to them and seek to be a friend and encourage them today.

Don’t waste your experiences

God is in control of your life, and allows trials to come our way in order to strengthen us spiritually and make us more like Jesus.

Whatever you are facing, know that someone else is facing it too. Perhaps you could share with them some of the things the Lord has shared with you, and “be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

16 Responses to “Why does God allow trials in our lives?”

  1. Melanie says:

    God truly allows trials in our lives to bring us through something that could really hinder our walk with God! He wants us to be Christ-like! When we have been helped, we can help others who have the same problems!

    Much love, grace, and peace to you today!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow. I have a testimony. A large amen to what you said.

    Our baby Jaymun was born with cancer. Many were the questions. But God has a purpose, and that is still becoming clear.

    Jaymun’s Dad

  3. Jason says:

    Pastor Greg,
    In my life, I have dealt with the death of family members & friends. As you say in the New Believer’s Bible that I received after I asked Jesus Christ into my life last October, “God gives you trials in your life to make your faith stronger.”

    Jason Andrew Toppin From Boronia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

  4. Sue says:

    Both my parents passed away this past year. It has been a very difficult 2 years. My dad’s prostate cancer returned (he was diagnosed & treated in 1991). My mom struggled with health issues off & on for several yrs. I was trying to take care of both of them & work full-time. The Lord has been with me every step of the way.

    About 3 years ago, I was born again. I have always been a Christian, but I was what I call a “passive Christian.” Not any longer! Three years ago, I had surgery on my hand, which didn’t turn out well. I developed a mild case of RSD, which can be very painful, as a result of the surgery.

    After a short time, I decided to become more than a “passive Christian” & devote my life to the Lord. Several other bad things have happened since giving my life to the Lord, but I know it is Satan working – trying to turn me against the Lord. That will never happen, though. Even though I’ve had difficulties & sadness, I have also found an inner peace & joy because I know the Lord is with me each & every minute.

    Pastor Greg, I want you to know that your messages have helped me too. You have such a wonderful ministry & look forward to hearing your messages. I belong to a local Presbyterian church and have a wonderful church family too.

    I am so sorry that you had to endure such grief with the passing of your son. But I know you find comfort in the Lord also. God Bless You!

  5. Bill says:

    Pastor Greg, I do not know how you feel with the death of your son, but my best friend does. Three years ago on February 5, his young 20+ son was killed in an early morning car accident. The truck he was riding in flipped over, and Adam was killed instantly. I am at a loss to help Doug & his wife, except to be there for him, love him and let him talk when/if he feels like it. Thanks for this blog.

  6. Joanne says:

    Life has been extremely difficult for my husband and me for several years now, first with the death of my father, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, two aunts, and a nephew, all within about two years’ time, a near-divorce due to an affair, several layoffs and financial problems, the recent death of my brother-in-law, and taking care of my husband’s mother, who is 84 and has Alzheimer’s. Sometimes, it seems to be more than we can bear, but through it all my husband became a believer. Whenever I think about the hard times we’ve been through, I just say to myself, “Praise the Lord.” He always brings us out of the fire and makes us stronger! He is in total control!

  7. RJ says:

    Pastor Greg,

    It was great to have you back! Man, we missed you as a congregation and we all love you and your family dearly.

    I know, James is making a huge impact on the Harvest family, and is really doing a great work in my heart, and my girlfriend’s heart specifically as her family is going through their toughest times yet. How amazing is this: We got to use our thorns to glorify God. Wow.

  8. Dennis says:

    Thank you for your post regarding “Why does God allow trials in our lives?” My pastor is doing a four-week series titled “Unshakeable.” To date, we have received message on “Unshakeable God,” ‘Unshakeable Church,” “Unshakeable Family,” and concluding this coming Sunday with “Unshakeable Life.” Your messages on trials complement the Unshakeable series so well.

    Thank you, Greg, for opening your heart to guide us by indicating how we can apply “God is in control of your life” to our lives. You continue to bless me daily as I listen to A New Beginning and receive your daily devotionals. You are a blessing, not only to me personally here in Dallas, Texas, but to so many around the world. May you have a peaceful and prosperous day, my friend. Dennis Blackstone

  9. Jaymi says:

    Beautiful!

  10. Jackie says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Pastor Greg. I have thought many times since the death of your precious son, Christopher, that without the death of my own dad many years ago, I don’t know that I would be able to have the compassion that the Lord has given me to love and pray for others going through such immense grief. Only through my pain did God teach me His incredible love and compassion for us all. May He continue to comfort you and all of those who are dealing with loss. Agape…

  11. Chelsea says:

    Lately, my world has been in turmoil, a little chaos here and there, and as much as I attempted to regain control of my daily schedule, I realized that it is God’s way of reminding us that He is in control.

    This is why we are having these trials.

    If we don’t have trials, then we wouldn’t realize who is in control, our Heavenly Father.

  12. Anne says:

    When I was about 14, my brother Philip made me do a book report on the Book of James (James 1:2-5). I always enjoy sermons about trials because 99% of the time, it comes when I’m going through a trial. James MacDonald’s teaching has encouraged me through my trial.

    He is in our prayers, as well as you and your family.

    P.S. I finally finished “Winners and Losers, Saints and Sinners.” Great Book!

  13. Cynthia says:

    The words you have written are so true and so encouraging. I am blessed to be going through my trials (a nasty divorce and several lawsuits), so that I can sympathize with others who are suffering. Thanks for pointing it out and putting it so clearly.

  14. Dan says:

    Thank you! Prayer and Blessings to you.

  15. christine adolph says:

    Hi Greg,

    My husband and I are both artist/designers and I love that you and your family are too. I listen to you every morning and I am so grateful for your sound teaching of God’s Word. God is so good. I just added you to my Web site and hope that God will use that even in a small way to direct someone to the truth.

    Blessings to you and your family,
    Christine

  16. V.N. says:

    Thanks, Greg. That verse has been an encouragement to me as well of late.

    I miscarried right before Christmas. It was definitely difficult, but I know that God allowed me to experience this so that I may minister to someone else later on, just like my own mother, who experienced it 4 times, was able to comfort me.

    Many people thought I was going to to shut down, but Christ is my peace and my hope. I know one day we will be blessed with a child, even if today is not His timing for us, and now I have an experience to help me reach out in a way I never would have been able before.

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