Do YOU have problems, difficulties, troubles?
Some seem to think God's people meet no trials or tests but are blessed with continual smooth sailing.
my personal responsibilities in the conduct of this great, important,
always-growing Work of God, I have not found it a smooth, easygoing
road with no difficulties. I have encountered repeated trials,
problems, tests. There have been critical crises. There has been real
persecution. There has been deliberate, vicious, lying, unprincipled
One enemy printed and circulated a list of
twenty things he claimed I believed and taught — and I didn't believe
or teach a single one of them. In this Work of the living God there has
been deceitful, malicious, ruthless opposition. Obstacles have had to
be hurdled frequently. Problems constantly require solution. It has
required unwavering faith, perseverance, determination, constant prayer
for guidance, and reliance on God for both direction and protection.
the Bible teach smooth sailing for true Christians whom God is using?
Did the men of God, whose lives pleased God, as recorded in the Bible,
have only an easy time of it, or were they constantly meeting trials,
tests, troubles of every sort — being continually forced to cry out to
God for deliverance?
Listen to God's own instruction:
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Eternal delivereth him out of them all" (Psalm 34:19).
I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
. . . They are not in trouble as other men . . . Behold these are the
ungodly who prosper in the world; they increase in riches . . . For all
the day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning" (Psalm
"We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
"All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12).
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him" (II Tim. 2:12).
as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also
aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your
consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the
same sufferings which we also suffer" (II Cor. 1:5-6).
But is God unfair? Does He hate Christians and punish them, while He loves the ungodly and prospers them? Not at all!
is great purpose in the trials, tests, tribulations, and sufferings the
Christian must endure. For these are the very means of strengthening
character — of developing fine, upstanding, strong Christians.
does not bless the ungodly with wealth — they acquire it usually in one
or both of two ways: by setting their hearts and minds on acquiring it,
and following through this purpose to the exclusion of all else, until,
without realizing it, the pursuit of money becomes the pursuit of their
god, destroying the soul; or by dishonest means.
But God does
bless those who seek Him first — not always with great money and
wealth, but always, in the end, with material prosperity they never
would have had otherwise. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His
righteousness," admonished Jesus, "and all these things [material
prosperity in shelter, food, clothing, etc.] shall be added unto you"
(Matt. 6:33)-That is Jesus' promise.
God loves to see His
servants prospering. He says so through David and John. He corrects and
chastens every son whom He loves. He allows His true children to suffer
much — to fall into troubles, difficulties, to face trials and tests
for their strengthening. But if we endure these tests, hard though they
may be — and if we seek first our God, His righteousness, and His
Kingdom, putting material interests second in our hearts, then in His
own due time God will always prosper His children even in a material
"But we glory in tribulations also: knowing that
tribulation worketh patience" (Rom. 5:3). Therefore it produces good
in, and for, us.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall
into divers temptations" — alternate translation: "trials." "Knowing
this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:2-3).
think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as
though some strange thing had happened unto you: but rejoice" (I Peter
If you had to choose between receiving gold valued at
$50,000 or a great trouble to test your faith, which would you choose?
The gold? You'd make the wrong choice if you
did. God says, through Peter: "...the trial of your
faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it
[the trial of faith] be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and
honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:7).
suffered affliction in order to lead the children of God, choosing this
rather than the riches of the king's palace and the pleasures of sin
for a season.
David suffered constant criticism and false
accusation, his enemies continually tried to unseat him, and his trials
were so great sometimes it seemed God would never come to his rescue —
yet God always did! Truly these trials teach us to be patient — for it
often seems an eternity before God finally delivers us. How often I
have experienced this personally. Yet, always God has intervened before
it was too late!
God chose Paul to be an apostle of Jesus
Christ, and the Lord said, "I will shew him how great things he must
suffer for my name's sake" (Acts 9:16). And late in life Paul wrote:
"In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much
patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in
imprisonments" [people probably would call Paul a crook, a racketeer,
an imposter and a jailbird today] "in tumults, in labours, in
watchings, in fastings" etc. (II Cor. 6:4-6). Paul outlined more of his
troubles and sufferings in II Corinthians 11:23-28.
chosen servant of God may be called upon to endure more trials,
troubles, and tests of faith than other Christians — but every
Christian shall suffer persecution, and meet fiery trials, sorrows,
troubles, tests of faith. All our readers who are Christians will
understand. Let us not murmur or grumble. Let us have faith, and endure
in our faith patiently.
All these problems, troubles and trials
are allowed to test us, strengthen us in faith and character, and
prepare us for joy eternally in God's Kingdom. Paul wrote: "For I
reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom.
By Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong TOMORROW'S WORLD Personal from the Editor September-October 1970