Those who have trusted God through a deep trial testify that their faith has been strengthened and their joy increased. Having to depend totally on Christ draws us closer to Him and increases our love for Him. Any counsel, help, or support we offer to those in distress should bring them through the trial of faith with their roots deepened in Christ (Isaiah:43:2) rather than enable then to escape the very challenges God intends and the work He desires to effect in their hearts. By allowing us to face seemingly hopeless situations, God intends to move us from mere intellectual belief to practical trust in His provision.
In “The Power of the Spirit” William Law writes, “Whenever a man allows himself to have anxieties, fears, or complaints, he must consider his behavior as either a denial of the wisdom of God or as a confession that he is out of His will.” Many who call themselves Christians say they have trusted Christ with their eternal destiny but seem unable to trust Him in this life – a fact that casts doubt on their relationship to Him.
God wants to test our faith now – and for good reason. Moses told the Israelites, “The Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Deuteronomy:8:2). Oswald Chambers said, “God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of sentimental enjoyment of His blessings….Faith by its very nature must be tried…. ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust him’ – this is the most sublime utterance of faith in the whole of the Bible” (My Utmost for His Highest).
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me,” wrote David (Psalm:23:4). He did not expect, much less plead, to be given another path that would bypass that terrible valley, but only that God would be with him through his trial. Living by faith involves confronting the difficulties of life, which indeed may have been allowed of God to test and correct us. The Christian life includes learning where we have gone astray and being willing to be corrected and brought back into obedience to God and His Word. It is often in times of distress alone that God can break the hold of that which has drawn our affection away from Him, perhaps without our even knowing it.