Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” The good is usually spiritual good and the ultimate realization of the good will be in our eternal existence with God. Let us look at some ways that trials in our lives can work for our good.
When trials in life hinder us from proceeding as we planned and a door is closed, God can open up another door. This happened to the Apostle Paul. Acts 16:6-10 “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.” The events in our lives will surely be different from what the Apostle Paul experienced; but when a door in our life is closed, God can open a door for an even better way to go. For example, we may lose one job and be given the opportunity for a better job. We may lose one friend and gain a different friend that God wants us to be with. We need to trust God that He knows what is best for us.
We are to share another’s sorrow. Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” One of the good things that can come out of our trials is that we become more sympathetic or empathetic of others in their trials; we have been comforted by God and we can comfort others. For example, if I have lost a young child in my family, I can better share in the grief of someone else who loses a child. Or if I have had my house broken into and been robbed, I can be a better source of strength to someone who experiences something similar. Or if I have cancer, I can better comfort others when they discover that they have cancer. I have credibility when I comfort another or even give advice, because I have had a similar experience. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.”
Trials build our character. Rom 5:3-4 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Another word for character is experience. When we work with difficult people, we learn how to deal with other difficult people. When we have been deceived by a deceptive salesman, we know what to watch out for the next time. When we have fallen into sin, we can learn how to avoid sin the next time. When we have offended someone, we can learn how to avoid offending the next time. Trials give us experience and build our character. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” If we let Him, the Spirit will take the trials of life and develop in us the fruit of the Spirit.