Written by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:7).
These words of Peter are certainly applicable today, but they have always been true. That proper character and testimony are of supreme importance to God was certainly recognized by godly Job in the midst of his heavy trials, for he claimed: “But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). The context for this stirring statement of faith proves instructive.
Just as most people do, whether Christian or not, Job appealed to heaven for relief from his troubles (v.3). Job felt he was suffering unjustly and wanted to state his case before God (v.4), but more importantly, Job desired to know God’s will in the matter. “I would [i.e., desire to] know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say unto me” (v.5). He knew God well enough to know that God had a purpose in his suffering, and Job asked for knowledge of that purpose. Job knew God’s goodness; that He would not punish him for his questions, and felt that greater understanding would give him strength to continue. But without God’s revelation, Job knew he was unable to understand or even find God (vv.8-9). God mercifully and lovingly allows trials to discipline, guide, and develop us. Such trials will, in the end, work to our advantage as impurities are removed, leaving behind only that which is lasting and precious.
The goal of our lives should be to bring “praise and honor and glory” unto our Lord, and if tribulation can best accomplish these goals, so be it! As David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67). God knows what is best for us. He knows what He is doing, and we can rest in that fact.