Our trials are His magnificent tools to conform us to His image. They bring us into weakness so that His strength is very evident to us and others. They are a testimony of His grace at work.
Paul’s trials were his credentials for ministry. He was highly educated, and a Pharisee of the Pharisees. Yet he counted those things as rubbish. Philippians 3:10 says, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
2 Corinthians 6:4-9 listed his credentials that empowered him for ministry. I’m stringing them for you: in much patience, tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness, fastings, dishonor, evil report, deceivers, unknown, dying, chastened, sorrowful, poor, and having nothing.
Consider your own credentials. What trial by fire have you walked through? What deep waters have immersed you? What trial has stopped you in your tracks? What dark night of the soul have you been in? A. W. Tozer said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.”
Nothing has been in vain because God redeems it all. He has used every hard trial that you have been in to conform you to His image, and prepare you to walk in the fullness of what He has purposed for you.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:4, “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God…” While abiding in Him in the crucible-trials these character fruits were developed. Purity, knowledge, longsuffering, kindness, sincere love, truth, power, righteousness, honor, good report, true, well known, alive, rejoicing, rich, and possessing all things.
Trials are essential. They are strategically designed to equip us to minister to others. They build empathy that touches hurting hearts. They purify our faith so that it cannot be shaken in adversity. They empower us through His grace which enables us to endure. Endurance is a testimony that pleases Him.
Endurance is constancy, perseverance, bearing up, and it is the fruit of patience. James 1:4 says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Trials bestow benefits that we lacked.