Trusting God in the Trial
(3) And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
(4) And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
(5) And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
(6) Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
(7) And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
(8) And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.
(9) And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
In the above passage of Scripture, the Israelites are in cruel bondage in slavery at the hand of the Egyptians. At this point, they have been enslaved for nearly four hundred years; Moses made a plea to Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave, but he would not. Instead, he increased the rigor of their labor and increased the punishments for disobedience or failure to produce the necessary quantity and quality of brick. In verse five, God makes known to Moses that he has remembered his covenant with Israel and the land he has promised to give the Israelites; in verse six, he promises to redeem the Israelites with a stretched out arm and promises to bring them out of bondage.
However, in verse nine, we see that the Israelites do not respond with rejoicing when Moses relays to them what God has told him. Instead, they refuse to listen to Moses for “anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.” There is an interesting parallel in this passage of Scripture that applies to how we often handle spiritual trials. Even though we as Christians know that God will see us through the trial and provide for us, we often do not listen to these promises or we choose not to listen to what God is trying to tell us from His Word because of the magnitude of our trial. Let’s take a look at a few things the Word of God tells us when it comes to trusting God during our trials.
Before we can examine how to trust God in the trial, we must first examine our response to the trial. The Israelites responded to their trial, bondage, and affliction with “anguish of spirit” and they “hearkened not unto Moses”. What this means is that the Israelites responded to their trial with an impatient (the Hebrew word for anguish is translated as impatience) spirit. It is because of this hasty spirit that they could not hearken or listen to Moses’ words. In contrast, the Bible is very clear that we are supposed to be patient during trials:
(12) Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
(2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
(3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
(4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
2 Thessalonians 1:4
(4) So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
(10) Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
(11) Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
(3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
As saved, born-again believers, we are supposed to have a hopeful endurance that Christ will deliver us out of the persecution, tribulation, and/or trial we are in. The Christian life will include times of suffering and affliction. Even the strongest Christians go through spiritual trials and tribulations. For instance, examine what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 1:8
(8) For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
The Apostle Paul said that while they were busy serving the Lord and being faithful to Him, they underwent much affliction and were heavily burdened to the point that they despaired even their own lives. I am not quite sure all of us have felt this way before in our lives, but it sure is a consolation knowing that even some of the greatest Christians were brought to such a point of despondency and despair due to a spiritual trial. However, it doesn’t end there. If the Apostle Paul and other martyrs of the faith simply “gave up”, then New Testament Christianity may not have spread as quickly as it did in the first century and perhaps we would be different Christians (for the worse), had these men quit on God during their affliction. So then, how do we not quit on God during the trial?
We Must Trust God in the Trial
It can be extremely tempting to not listen to the Word of God or the preaching of the Word of God during a trial. It can be easy to become impatient and it can be very easy to simply quit and give up on the Christian race. However, we are enabled, through Christ, to overcome every spiritual trial that we face by simply putting our trust in God.
2 Corinthians 1:9-11a
(9) But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
(10) Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
(11) Ye also helping together by prayer for us…
The Apostle Paul says here that even though they had been sentenced to death, their grave affliction was a reminder to them that they should not trust in themselves to get through the trial; they were to trust in “God which raiseth the dead.” If God raised Jesus from the tomb and if we have the promise that, if we are saved, we will one day be resurrected out of the grave at the Rapture (or be taken up alive to meet the Lord in the air), then why are we so doubtful that he will deliver us out of the trial.
The pure fact that God saved and delivered us from our sin (i.e., so great a death) and from eternal punishment in Hell ought to be sufficient evidence for us that he will yet deliver us. Also, we have the continual prayers of other Christians in our local Church and around the world that will help us get through the trial. Even if you are not involved in a local Church (which you should be, but let’s say for some reason you are not), Jesus Christ is constantly before the throne of God interceding on your behalf. He knows what you are going through and will not leave you comfortless.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
(3) Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
(4) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
(5) For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
(16) O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.
(17) Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.
(18) I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
As Christians, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit of God abiding in us that will comfort us during our trials. If we put our trust in Him, then the resulting comfort of God will enable us to rejoice during our trials and will bring about a hopeful waiting for Christ’s deliverance from the trial. If we fret, become impatient, and refuse to listen to God during our trial (like the Israelites), then we are simply making things worse for ourselves. It leads to bitterness, anger, and essentially being out of God’s Will. If we put our trust in Him, and lean not unto our own understanding, and acknowledge God in all our thoughts, God will guide us in the way we need to go during our trials.