The Trial of Your Faith

“Without faith it is impossible to please him [God].”
—Hebrews 11:6

TRUE FAITH IN GOD implies more than a belief in his almighty power, for it includes confidence in the rightness of his decisions with respect to every detail of his plan for the whole world, and his will for us as individuals.

When we behold the marvelous works of creation, it is not difficult to believe that the Creator is able to care for us, and to deliver us from evil. But to have confidence in his way and time to deliver is more difficult. It is in this respect that the Lord’s people have had their most severe tests of faith.


‘Fire’ is used several times in the Bible to illustrate difficult trials which the Lord permits to come into the lives of his people to test their faith and loyalty. The Apostle Peter wrote: “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” (I Pet. 4:12) Peter also wrote about the “manifold temptations,” or trials, which come upon the “elect” of this Gospel Age, and explained the reason as being, “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 honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”—I Pet. 1:2,6,7

We are given a similar thought in the Old Testament, where we read, “Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly.” (Isa. 33:14,15) These passages do not indicate that the righteous should expect to be delivered from harm. Rather, they are not consumed by the trial.

Peter wrote, “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.” (I Pet. 3:12-14) Peter, in writing that no one can harm us, says, ‘But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake’ be happy about it, realizing that the Lord permits it for our eternal good and that his presence will be with us in the experience.


The Scriptures reveal that throughout ancient times God used angels frequently as messengers of his presence. We have confidence that this is true. During the Gospel Age, the Heavenly Father has been intimately near to his people through the Holy Spirit, which Jesus likened to a “Comforter.” (John 14:16,17) In his promise to send the Holy Spirit, Jesus added, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [Greek, aion, meaning ‘age’].” (Matt. 28:20) The thought is that Jesus would be present with his people through the medium of the Holy Spirit.

During this harvest period at the end of the Gospel Age, we have the assurance of Jesus’ personal presence with his people, and that he would manifest himself to them by serving “meat in due season” (Ps. 145:15)—rich spiritual food pertaining to the Divine plan of the ages. To those who at this time are spiritually “awake” and hear his “knock,” his promise is that if they will open to him, he will come in and “sup” with them. (Matt. 24:45; Luke 12:37; Rev. 3:20) How wonderfully these various expressions convey the idea of the Lord’s nearness to his people in these special days of trial—the ‘evil day’ which was to come upon the whole earth.—Luke 21:35; Eph. 6:13


Writing concerning this same time, the psalmist said: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46:1) As a ‘present’ help, he is not far away, but actually with us in the flames of trouble to prevent our injury as “new creatures” in Christ Jesus. (II Cor. 5:17) The “secret of thy [his] presence” is referred to in Psalm 31:20. It is the “secret place of the Most High,” and there we “abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”—Ps. 91:1

The people of the world today do not recognize that we have an unseen partner and caretaker who is tempering the winds and the storms of life that they may not ‘harm’ us; who controls the heat of the fiery trials so that while the flames may burn the cords which bind us to a world like this, we are not injured, but purified, and made “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” the inheritance of exaltation to live and reign with Christ a thousand years.—Col. 1:12; Rev. 20:4

Paul explained that no temptation or trial has befallen us but what is common to man. (I Cor. 10:13) This is more true today than in the days of the Early Church, for at that time many of the saints were especially persecuted. These experiences are also common to man, because of political, economic, national, racial, and other considerations. The human race has freely persecuted one another, or as one writer has described it, “Man’s inhumanity to man has made countless thousands mourn.” Our trials come largely from everyday experiences of life, yet these can be very severe and fiery, and we would certainly be consumed by them were it not that He is with us.

In these common, humdrum experiences of life, our faith is just as much on trial as though we were called upon to face more difficult experiences. Perhaps more so, for in these everyday trifles we are tempted to feel that possibly the Lord may have deserted us. If suddenly confronted with some major test of faith, we would probably realize at once that the Lord’s hand was in it, that he was trying us as gold is tried; but it is not easy to believe that He is with us in the common things of life.


Your fiery trial may be those daily chores around the home. You may wish that you could be free and get out into the front line of the Christian battle, where you could witness for the Lord and tell the world about the glories of his kingdom, now so near. You may wonder why the Lord does not arrange things differently for you; but have faith. His wisdom sees that you need to prove faithful by performing the common tasks of life. And remember that he is by your side whether you are in the kitchen, the laundry, or the nursery; and he is there to make sure that this drab life of yours is working in you “the peaceable fruit of righteousness.”—Heb. 12:11

Other saints of God may find their trials to be in the office, or the factory, where by Divine providence they find it necessary to spend most of their days. But the Lord’s presence is with these, also. None of his people need ever to be alone. The only question they need to settle, and to keep settled in their minds and hearts, is that they have not compromised with the forces of evil—that they have refused to bow down to other gods. We may be tempted to bow down to the ‘god’ of gold and the deceitfulness of riches. We are not called upon to worship heathen gods, but we need constantly to guard against the danger of bowing down to gods of our own making—idols which our wayward hearts set up in place of God.

There are the gods of ease, pleasure, pride, and of self. We might conceivably worship our home or our family, and allow them to take the place in our hearts which belongs to our Heavenly Father. We might have special or ‘private’ interpretations of the Bible to which we bow down. It is only by resolutely refusing to bow down to any of these modern ‘gods’ that we demonstrate our faith in the true God—our loving Heavenly Father.


Let us resolve to be loyal to our God—not for reward, but because it is right. If the Lord delivers us from trial, which we know he has the power to do, we will rejoice and endeavor to use the favorable experiences of life to his glory. If he allows us to suffer, regardless of what experiences arise we will know that he is with us, that he has sent his ‘angel’ to protect us from harm. When we reach the end of the way, there will be a fully developed ‘new creature’ exalted to rulership in the kingdom with Christ.

Moses passed through many severe trials, but God’s presence was with him. Joseph was in a ‘fiery furnace’ for many years, but recognized God’s hand in his experiences, so that he did not hold it against his brethren that they had sold him into Egypt. The perfect one, Jesus, endured great “contradiction of sinners against himself.” He was not delivered from the ‘flames’ but was allowed to die the cruel death of the cross. (Matt. 4:11; Heb. 1:14) Stephen boldly preached Christ to the Pharisees, and was stoned to death. He was not delivered, but the Lord was with him in the trial, and he had the faith and grace to ask the Lord to forgive his murderers.—Acts 7:60

So it may be with us. Do some of those with whom you associate vex and try you? Tell the Lord about it. He knows; and they probably do not. These experiences are the ‘fire’ which is trying you; but the Lord is with you, therefore nothing else should really matter. Are you lying prostrate with disease or pain? The Lord knows that, too, and he is with you in such a ‘fire’ of affliction, and will not permit the flames to injure, but only to refine.

Today we are as exiles in the “present evil world.” (Gal. 1:4) Although we are in the world, we are not a part of it. If we were of the world, the world would love its own; but we are not loved by the world. There are times when the world appreciates the integrity of God’s people, but let us not go the way of the world in order to obtain its favors.

Let us be true to our God, and to his standards of righteousness. Only our faith will enable us to do this, and to gain the victory. Let us not become “weary in well doing.” (Gal. 6:9) No matter how fiercely the fires may burn around us, and whatever the local circumstances may be that are feeding the flames that are trying us as gold is tried, let us ever remember the assurance that the Lord is with us, and because he is, we will not be hurt. Regardless of what experiences his wisdom may deem to be best for us, may our faith never waver from the fact that he is with us in the ‘fire’ and that our “light affliction” which is but for a “moment” is working out “for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”—II Cor. 4:17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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