Kingdom Greetings again, Brethren Last week we discussed about Trials of Faith as Tests of our Faith. It's needful to note that the word "faith" has a broad definition. The Christian Faith engulfs our belief, our walk and relationship with the LORD.
Trials of Faith as Tribulations
James 1:2-4 NKJV
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into various trials;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
It is not advisable that we present Christianity as a bed of roses to unbelievers while trying to draw them into the Kingdom of God. Physical, Emotional and Spiritual pain has been and will always be an integral part of the Christian Faith.
Even our LORD Jesus Christ endured much pain during His lifetime and ministry on Earth. He was persecuted, spat on, whipped, accused falsely and crucified!
The disciples are not greater than the Master (Matthew 10:24). If our LORD and Master experienced tribulations while on Earth, the case can not be different with us. He in fact made it clear to us that we will experience tribulation and should expect it.
John 16:33 KJV
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
First and foremost, true salvation transforms us into enemies of the kingdom of darkness. It automatically ushers us into the battle field; that alone kicks off tribulation for the Believer. No soldier would say that the battle field is bread and butter, so is Christianity.
Any teaching which says that Christians are not supposed to experience any form of suffering is a false teaching. Any Christian who has not been through storms should question the genuineness of their salvation!
The Purpose of our Tribulations
The Father has good intentions in allowing His children experience tribulations. If He allowed the First Born to go through, He'll do same with us.
Contrary to what some people assume, going through isn't a sign of bad luck or the consequences of sin in a Believer's life. The LORD in His infinite wisdom uses all that we go through to shape us into who He destined us to be. Tribulation has its way of equipping us for the assignment that has been entrusted to us.
Besides, He is also in the course of perfecting His Church for His imminent return, and one of the ways He is doing that is through the sufferings every genuine Christian must experience.
It is a refining process we must all go through. It is our cross. We must accept it with open heart, not forgetting that even the glorification of our LORD Jesus Christ Himself followed His tribulations on Earth.
Hebrews 1:3 KJV
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
As Christians we will be suffer for doing right. The world loves what is wrong, we will come under fire for preaching the truth. We will experience suffering while attempting to put the flesh to death. Denying ourselves the fleeting pleasures of sin equals to suffering. Carrying our cross to follow the LORD on daily basis is not what the sinful self loves. These altogether brings us suffering.
2 Corinthians 4:8-11 KJV
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
Just as the Word says, the tribulations we experience today can not be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). If we suffer with Him we will also reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12).
There is an eternal reward for the tribulations we experience on Earth as Christians and that is our glorification!
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 KJV
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
How We Should Respond to Tribulations
At times the fire in the refiner's furnace gets very hot, we complain, yell out and feel like giving up. The LORD understands the frailty of our being, but that is not always the best way He expects us to respond.
The manner in which Apostle Paul responded to all he went through always amazes me. Paul understood that all he was put through were altogether necessary for his perfection, and would cause the power of God to be more manifest through him. He counted it all joy and would at times even ask for more, wow!
Philippians 3:10 KJV
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.
I once complained seriously to the LORD concerning all that I was going through. The answer that came was that "an olive must go through the press before it can produce olive oil."
Olive oil is widely used as Anointing oil today and is the product of a fruit found on olive trees. The fruits, when mature, has to get passed through the olive press and crushed before they can produce olive oil. Oil represents the Anointing.
Many Christians want to be carriers of His Anointing, Presence and Power. They desire to make impact. These things don't happen overnight. They should likewise be ready and willing to get crush through tribulations.
Whenever I see someone whom God uses mightily, I begin to imagine all that they've been through to get there. Only those who don't understand choose to be envious instead. There's definitely no crown without a cross! Indeed all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28)!
Tribulations Are But For a While
Our God is gracious. He knows the limit of what we can go through and will never let us go through what we can not endure! There comes a time the LORD takes away most of the things we go through because they have accomplished their purpose in us and are no longer needed.
During our going through we might think we lost a lot, but God is a mighty restorer. He has for us the better version of everything we might had lost and will restore them to us. He won't fail!
1 Peter 5:10 KJV
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
When God is ready to restore and settle us, we won't have pray for blessings, they'll come chasing after us because we've been through all that's required to have them!
We must however look forward to the millennial reign of Christ when everything that causes suffering will be totally made an end to. The Earth is not our home.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Our tribulations are not sent to kill us. They will bring us into a closer walk with the LORD. It is true that good things don't come easy. To walk in greater Anointing, Deeper revelation and the fullness of God's promises and blessings we must be willing pay the price.
If we keep our gaze on the LORD, we will always emerge victorious. The refiner's fire will transform and not kill us. The main thing the LORD expects from us is a "Not my will but your will be done" response, and He'll take care of the rest! Amen!
1 Peter 4:12-16 KJV
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye ; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.