By Todd Stiles
Here are four observations about trials we glean from Hebrews 3:7-19.
- Trials are essentially spiritual crossroads. The testing of our faith is always a fork in the road, an intersection of sorts where we must put what we believe into practice. Regardless of the issue, it will always come down to faith (what God says) vs. flesh (what I think/feel/see). This was true for the Hebrew nation in Numbers 14, and it holds true for us today.
- Trials reveal what we need to instill. We often think tough times build strength within us. And while that is true, it is important to note that before they do that, they reveal things about us. As Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you fail in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Trials tell us something about ourselves that can often be hard to hear. But if we’ll listen, we’ll know how to proceed forward as God builds into us the very things he was revealing about us.
- Trials require the voices of others. Finding a safe place person with whom you can share is very difficult in the middle of a dark day, but it is oh so necessary. (And by safe sharing I don’t mean sinful sharing. But I do mean honest candor and core transparency.) Why? Because if left to ourselves, we tend to believe only what we think, feel, or see; we drift, unintentionally, towards believing things that aren’t true. This is how sin works deceitfully yet destructively. Remember—silence in a trying situation can lead to sin’s full devastation.
- Trials force us to focus. And hopefully, on Jesus! Remember, this is the primary imperative in the beginning of the chapter (3:1), so when you are squeezed, the goal of the vice is clearer vision and stronger faith. Allow the trial to turn your eyes to Jesus, not your heart away from him.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of his glory and grace.”
Todd Stiles is Lead Pastor of First Family Church in Ankeny.