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Are Trauma, Tragedy, And Misfortune A Test Of Faith And Obedience?

Yes, trauma, tragedy, and misfortune are a test of faith and obedience. However, this answer is almost too easy, too ready, and too superficial. This answer is too easy for the question is not complete. The real question, the complete question is "Is trauma, tragedy, and misfortune a test FROM GOD of our faith and obedience"? Those two words, "FROM GOD", are the key words. These words are the stickler words. For in times of tragedy or misfortune the doubts and questions about God accumulate and for many people the questions remain unanswered.

In answering this question, we must use our godly common sense. We must use what little we know about God and His nature in weighing out His place in tragedy, suffering, and trauma.

In answer to the complete question, "Is trauma, tragedy, and misfortune a test of faith and obedience from God?' we can clearly and unequivocally say "No". No, God does not pour out trauma, tragedy, and misfortune on you or others to test you. God does pour out His wrath. However, His pouring out of wrath is not to test but it is a consequence of acts of human beings, either individually or collectively. God does not administer a test in your life as if you were in school. God does not need to test you because He already knows you. God knows in advance whether you would succeed or fail a test through traumatic circumstances. God knows your mettle. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. He most certainly does not want to see you fall or fail.

Using your common sense, you can come to understand that God is a being of love who wants only the very best for you and from you. God wants to see you defeat every enemy, conquer every foe, and deal constructively with every adversity of life. God is not sitting in Heaven sending out True-False or Multiple Choice exams to the children down below. He knows that life is difficult enough for us without His making things even more difficult.

Job:2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. (KJV)

Suffering is an instrument of Satan. For it is Satan who wants to see you fall. It is Satan, who wants to see the drug addict use, the alcoholic drink, the weak fall down, and the ego filled self implode. It is Satan, who delights in the death of young and old, the crippling of the weak and strong, and the destruction of the good or bad. It is not God's will that anyone should suffer. Christ came to us and sent His Holy Spirit to us so we could launch a counter attack against suffering, pain, adversity, trauma, and misfortune.

Satan is the one to put you to the test. Satan is out to destroy you, not just to put you to the test. Yes, suffering and pain are a test, but not a test from God. We can assign many things to God. We can say that God is testing us but when we say God is testing us, we are referring to the testing that develops endurance and strength. An athlete works out to strengthen the body by continually exercising muscles by applying resistance or force against those muscles. Muscles in the arms grow stronger by using bar bells. Wind sprints build up the muscles in the legs, arms, and lungs by the body's pushing against the ground. God does not concoct some kind of scheme to make you weak and see you fail. What God does do is coach you from the sidelines, so to speak, encouraging you to work hard to win the race. What God most wants from you during times of trauma is for you to rise above your circumstances. God wants you to rise above or come against the weakening of your faith. God wants you to rise above or come against the obstacles of pain put in your path by Satan.

All suffering can be viewed as a test, but not a test from God to see if you will fail or not. When we grow strong enough to understand the nature of Satan's devices and schemes we get wisdom. With this wisdom, we can see that every pain, every hurt, and every heartache is the result of an arrow sent into our heart by Satan. These arrows into our heart draw us away from Christ. When we are under the enormous pressure of tragedy, we can count on God to be with us, not standing over us wanting to see if we will succeed or fail.

We must understand that suffering eats away at faith. Trauma undermines faith. It is Satan's goal, by whatever means necessary, to see that you turn as far away from Christ as possible. Suffering and pain are Satan's weapons against you. These weapons are used indiscriminately against young and old, rich and poor, and the strong and weak. It is the random nature of suffering that makes the meaning of adversity so elusive. Satan knows that when an innocent child suffers then adults could doubt the love of God. Satan knows how to shred the core of your faith. In times of suffering and tragedy it is your job to realize who the source of suffering is, and stand firm against this evil.

We must always think about the common sense of this issue. In our common sense, when doubts about God, about God's word, and about God's love assail us, we must use reason. In suffering, we do not reason well. In suffering, we can read God's word but the wisdom, truth, and love of the Word does not sink into our heart for we are in pain. In times of trauma, we must focus on the fundamental truth that "God is love". With just this truth in our minds and hearts, we can readily see that God does not cause suffering but that He wants us to be victorious over it.

While undergoing the testing of our faith because of Satan, we must remember we are not alone, even when we feel alone. The love of God, emanating from the kingdom of God, is within us. The love that is God is the most powerful force and influence in the universe. When we let God reign in our lives, the love of His being defeats the enemy that causes us to lose heart and be discouraged. With God, we have abundant resources to fight against failure, weakness, and loss of faith. With God, we can laugh in the face of Satan and proclaim Christ as Lord of our lives.

In traumatic times, however, we are not often able to make loud proclamations of faith. However, we can make proclamations, even if they are weak ones. Better a small, little voice, calling upon Christ in suffering, than a loud, screaming voice full of doubts about God's love.

1 John 4:8 .Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (NIV)

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (NIV)

Revelation 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. (NIV)

Lamentations 3:33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. (NIV)

Psalms 126:5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. (NIV)

 

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018