I’ve never been much of a runner. I like the beginning of a run when everything feels easy. But I always reach a point where my motivation starts to slip and my body starts to slow down. My breathing becomes heavy, my muscles burn, and I feel as if I have to stop or my legs will give out. That inevitable feeling of not being able to go on is what often keeps me from running.
Persevering during trials is similar to running. Even the most disciplined and trained runner reaches a point where they feel like they can’t go on anymore. And as followers of Christ, we too find ourselves questioning if we can possibly move forward in the trials we experience. Trials aren’t easy. Most of the trials we experience are painful, overwhelming, and burdensome. But the good news is that as believers, we are able to persevere through our trials no matter how difficult they may be. How? By remembering what God is doing and resting in the promised outcome.
Below, we discuss exactly how remembering what God is doing and resting in the promised outcome can help us through our trials.
Remember what God is doing
It can be easy to question why God allows us to experience trials. When whatever it is that we are going through throws us for a loop or hurts us, we can feel as if God is being cruel. But even though God allows us to experience trials, God works in our trials purposefully. Because He is a good and sovereign God, God uses our trials to shape our faith and grow us in our relationship with Him.
James 1:2–4 tells us, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” These verses teach us that God produces endurance and spiritual maturity in our trials. Therefore, the trials we walk through are not without purpose. God is growing us in our sufferings and hardships. And as we move forward in the midst of trials, we are given the endurance we need to keep moving forward. Just like a runner can experience a burst of motivation to go further, so does God give us the perseverance we need to press on in our trials.
Similarly, 1 Peter 1:6–7 tells us, “You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith — more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire — may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Our faith is refined in the fire of trials. This can be hard to accept, for it would feel much better to have our faith refined through easier means. Yet, we can look back at certain trials and see how those situations truly shaped our faith. And it is because sufferings cause us to depend on God. Often, we don’t rely on the Lord as much when life feels easy and good. But trials cause us to hold fast to what we know to be true about God and His promises. So even though trials are painful, it is comforting to know that God is producing something good in our trials. He is growing us, shaping us, and giving us the endurance we need to press forward.
Rest in the promised outcome
While God can and does deliver us from certain trials in this life, deliverance from trials on earth is not a guarantee. However, we do know that God will deliver us completely from all trials one day.
As followers of Christ, we will not experience suffering forever. While we will likely have continual trials on this side of eternity, there is an end in sight. Like a runner who can persevere because of the finish line ahead, so can believers persevere through trials because of what lies ahead. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” First Peter 5:10 also tells us that “The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while.”
It is comforting to know that, as believers, we have a promised future with Christ. Therefore, we can persevere through trials by fixing our eyes on our eternity ahead. We can rest in our promised eternity with Christ and the hope that we will one day never experience suffering again. Our current trials do not compare to the glory that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).
So even though trials are difficult, we can push forward with faith and confidence. We can trust that God is shaping us in our trials and delivering us from our trials. No matter what trial you may be dealing with right now, remind yourself of what God is doing. Trust that He is producing something for your good and His glory. And rest in the truth that deliverance is promised. God is carrying us through our trials and bringing us into eternity where trials will be no more.