We Glory in Tribulations Also
Many times in life we experience myriad trials and tribulations; we have lost loved ones; we have struggled financially; we have struggled emotionally, or perhaps we have struggled physically with an ailment or disability. No matter where you are and who you are, you have experienced tribulation. Because we all have experienced tribulation, all of us can agree that there are several ways in which we tend to respond and deal with the particular tribulation that we are facing.
The world deals with tribulation in a fleshly manner, often blaming God for the trial and cursing God through it. Often, lost people will find themselves in a world of confusion and hurt during a trial because they have no power or ability to proclaim victory over the particular trial they are encountering because they do not have Christ.
What alarms me, however, is that some Christians, myself included, sometimes respond to tribulations in a manner that is characteristic of a lost person. We fret and worry instead of trusting God; we get angry and become bitter, instead of recognizing the fact that God is still sovereign even when we are in the midst of a trial. Sometimes, especially in the event of death or the illness of a loved one, we blame God for the tribulation and trial, instead of realizing that every circumstance occurs under the providential and sovereign hand of God.
Our text reminds us that we need to “glory in tribulations also…”. The word glory here is from the Greek meaning to “make joy” or to “rejoice”. Thus, the Bible is saying that we need to rejoice in tribulations also, not just in the good times.
One reason why we need to rejoice during tribulation, is because we must remember that the Lord is always mindful of what we are going through. God is not oblivious to what is happening in our lives. The Lord is at hand.
“…The Lord is at hand.” ~Philippians 4:5b (KJV)
Also, we realize that unless we have unconfessed sin in our hearts, the Lord will hear our prayer during our time of tribulation.
“The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.” ~Psalm 6:9 (KJV)
“But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.” ~Psalm 66:19 (KJV)
“Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.” ~Psalm 17:1 (KJV)
We also must recognize that no menial trial or tribulation of this world can ever separate us from the Lord that bought us.
“35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
~Romans 8:35-37 (KJV)
Secondly, we need to rejoice in tribulations because the Bible tells us that “tribulation worketh patience.” In my personal life, this passage of Scripture has become so real to me; I have noticed that during trials my prayer life and relationship with God has increased, because a trial always forces me to place full reliance upon God and zero reliance and trust in my flesh. I have no choice but to be patient and wait on God, because I have no direction on where to go and what to do in and of myself. Thus, trials continually accomplish or perform in us the spiritual quality of patience.
However, it should be noted that many times when people try to have “patience” during a trial, they tend to moan, groan, and murmur in the midst of their so-called “patience” during the trial. May I say to you that that is not the patience that the Bible speaks of in this verse. The Greek word that is translated for the English patience literally means a cheerful or hopeful constancy or enduring patience or a hopeful waiting. Thus, this word patience essentially means to “wait on the Lord.”
What this means is that we should not think of a trial as some sort of burden to bear or struggle through, we should cheerfully wait upon the Lord’s direction and guidance in the midst of still serving God faithfully with all of our hearts. That is the true, Biblical patience that we need to endeavor and strive for as saved, born-again believers.
Thirdly, we need to rejoice in tribulations because the Bible also tells us that along with patience, trials accomplish or perform in us experience or trust. When we wait on the Lord during our trial instead of fretting and worrying, we will in turn trust the promises recorded in God’s Word instead of getting angry and bitter with the One who knoweth all things. One such promise is the everlasting peace of God:
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:7 (KJV)
Finally, we need to rejoice in tribulations because the Bible tells us that along with an increased trust in the Lord, we will have hope. When we are waiting on the Lord and trusting in Him, it is hard for us to live in despondency and despair. We need to be hopeful of what God will show us in the trial and stop fretting about when or how we will get out of the trial. Again, God always uses trials to build us up spiritually, not to bring us down spiritually. Don’t let the devil try to tell you otherwise and influence you to sin during the trial by doubting God and becoming bitter. Encourage yourself in the Lord, put your trust in Him, and hope in God, knowing that he is in control of both the trial and all the circumstances and facets that encompass the particular trial you are facing. Would to God that we keep our eyes on Him and trust Him with our whole hearts during our trials and see Him work the peaceable fruit of righteousness within us, both in and out of the trial.