In these end times when sin and apostasy abound there is an undeniable deep shaking, the epicenter of which lies in the Body of Christ. Many are suffering great persecution and loss from the rise of nightmarish demonic enemies. Others who live in relative safety are greatly shaken by fiery trials allowed or orchestrated by the Lord Himself. As darkness thickens over this fallen world we can be assured of two things: The Lord will always have a testimony of Himself in this world to reflect His glory and secondly, as pervasive evil comes to fruition, it will always ultimately serve the purposes of God. The Lord’s prophetic word unfolds with certainty and eternal victory.
What of these fiery trials? An entire book would not be sufficient to describe them – they seem tailor made for personal grief, heartache, confusion, physical and mental anguish. Outside of James, believed to be the half-brother of Jesus, few lay claim to find “pure joy” when facing trials of many kinds (James 1:2). But, while on the path to victory, many of us can testify to great spiritual benefits that come forth through fiery trials. Five benefits arose in my heart, even as I continue to wade through the high waters:
- The battlefield of fiery trials strips us of frivolities and useless vanity, creating a pointed focus with priorities established by God. Here we learn that much of our previous fretting and preoccupations were valid to the world but counted for nothing in God’s Kingdom. When your house is on fire, trinkets hold little value.
- The Word of God will actually become “living and active. Sharper than any two edged sword”. In times of confusion and turmoil we will see this living Word as “a lamp to our feet and light to our path”. As we seek Him and wait upon Him, the Lord Jesus will speak through His Word as He is the Word. (John 1:1)
- Fiery trials that manifest with supernatural power force us to acknowledge the futility and sin of self–reliance and worldly dependence. Money cannot buy relief, social ‘connections’ become powerless, and no search engine holds the answer. Cornered without strength or resources, God reveals Himself and begins to unfold His ways, His agenda, His deliverance within the storm. There is no greater backdrop for God’s divine providence and power than a totally surrendered heart. Resolving to trust Him is the greatest challenge but comes with great promises. The Lord will not disappoint.
- There is a supernatural peace that “surpasses understanding” when one is solely dependent upon the Holy Spirit. The peace of God is His visitation upon our heart as we cry out to Him. We can sleep as Jesus slept, in the midst of a raging storm.
- As the Lord Himself cried to the Father to let the cup pass, we also cry to the Lord to spare us tragedy, grief, and pain. Yet it is the fruit of crushing brokenness that prepares us for Kingdom work like nothing else. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Loss, betrayal, grief and injustice are the personal milestones of spiritual giants, from Genesis to present day. Excruciating trials are launching pads of great works of God. Every challenge and obstacle leads us to higher places of faith and usefulness to the Lord. They are opportunities, even appointments, used by God that hold great eternal reward.
Pastor Zac Poonen sums up the immeasurable value in brokenness:
“If you are really earnest about partaking of the life of Jesus, God will allow a thousand-and-one things to happen to you, in order to deliver you from the love of material things, from seeking the honor of men, from self-pity….if you are thirsting for God’s best, He will deal with you ruthlessly, cutting out the cancers that are ruining you and destroying the idols that corrupt you. He will allow you to suffer pain, disappointment, loss, shattered hopes, humiliation, unjust criticism, etc. in order to bring you to that place of stability – where you can’t be shaken anymore.” Zac Poonen, ‘Secrets of Victory’
“A thousand and one things” are really happening to true followers of Christ. While the devil is “filled with fury, because he knows his time is short”, the Lord stands by us, ready to undergird and lead us through every inward and outward calamity.
The benefits, the eternal rewards of service, even the ‘pure joy’ await us in every trial once we pour ourselves out to the Lord and resolve to stand behind Him. No matter how dark the circumstance, His love for us has not waned, His sovereign power never diminished. The Lord stands at the edge of our Red Sea, ready for us to enter into intimate fellowship and His divine presence – His outpouring in us through committed time of prayer.
Satan would rob us of victory by magnifying the circumstance and disastrous outcomes. Let us magnify the Lord, eat and drink of His living Word and He, our Deliverer will “broaden the path” beneath us so we will not fail, we will not fall.