People often describe different phases of life as seasons. We all go through seasons of joy, seasons of waiting, seasons of peace. As the calendar flips from month-to-month, we read articles about connecting the changing seasons in nature to our own seasons of life.
There looms one season on which people don’t like to dwell: the season of trials. Most often, Christians prepare for trials by wrapping this season in prayer and the reminder of the strength of the Holy Spirit. If a friend resides in that season, we give them encouragement to get through it, or we try not to bring up their trials in order to get their mind off of them. We ask for prayer to remain strong when we enter into this season ourselves.
There are numerous Bible verses and thousands of articles and books to encourage us during these trials. And while these are all helpful and needed directions to follow upon entering this season, what about before the trial even begins? When life feels ordinary and routine? How do we prepare for trials in the midst of a season of joy or a season of simply normal?
Not worrying about potential trials
Worry lives and breathes to cause us trouble. It’s a nasty sin none of us actually enjoy, yet we allow it to suck us into the land of “What If” and entice us to stay for a while. We worry about things currently happening in our lives, but we also worry about the things that might be.
When we worry about the trials that could potentially occur, we lose those moments to sin. Yes, worry is a sin. While we attempt to mask our worry in the robes of “preparing just in case,” we lie to ourselves and to the Spirit at work within us.
Worrying about potential situations is not a way to prepare for trials. It’s actually quite the opposite. Worry clouds our minds to the desires and directions of the Holy Spirit, keeping us from obeying Him.
Think about a time of worry you have faced. You probably brought to life a worst-case scenario. You then might have thought how you would respond, what actions you would need to take and the outcome of it all. But how, exactly, did that help you in that moment? Instead of trusting God, you filled yourself with fear or stress about a situation that might never be.
Instead of worrying about potential trials, trust God. Fight your worry with the truth that God will never leave you nor forsake you. He will walk beside you during every trial you face. And everything you go through can result in the glorification of His Name. Everything Satan means for evil, God can use for good. Hold onto the truth that nothing in this life can harm your spirit.
Preparing yourself to give an answer
When God allowed Satan to strike Job with the death of his loved ones followed by illness to his own body, Job’s wife and friends approached him about his trials. While Job’s wife encouraged him to curse God and die, his friends tried to open his eyes to any sin he might have committed.
It would have been easy for him to allow frustration and depression to push him into silence. But Job responded to his wife and to his friends, despite his lack of understanding regarding his trials. “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” (Job 2:10).
While we see Job’s pride throughout his conversation with his friends, we also see a man ready and willing to give an answer in the midst of his trials. As we read at the beginning of Job’s story, God considered Job an upright man, one who feared God and shunned evil. When the first calamity hit, Job’s response was worshiping God.
How could he have such a trusting and faithful response? Because he had prepared in the ordinary seasons, the times when life was routine and going well. We see this in his answer to his wife. His trust in God went beyond the good times and the physical blessings God had given him. He had hope in God, and he knew he could stand upright on that foundation of hope.
Being ready to give an answer for the hope you have in Christ does not just strengthen you when the trials come. It also encourages those around you. If, during the routine and ordinary days, you memorize scripture and pray earnestly and listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, then you, like Job, will be prepared to give an answer for why trials don’t break you. And that answer will glorify God as you point others toward Him.
Holding the things of this life loosely
As we search for ways to prepare for trials, we need to define what trials are for ourselves. Sickness, whether it’s your own or someone else’s whom you love. The death of a friend or family member. Financial troubles. We all fear different circumstances when we think about heading into a trial. But one thing remains the same for every trial Christians face: Nothing can take away our eternity with Jesus.
Everything in this life belongs to the Giver of all good gifts. Our health, our spouse, our children, our house, our jobs. Literally everything. If we begin now to hold the things of this life loosely, recognizing they all belong to God, then we will feel more prepared when trials hit. We will be able to fall to our knees and say, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21).
We must begin thanking God today for what He has given us. And we must ask ourselves if we could do without whatever we currently treasure. If we don’t think we could, then it’s time to seek God and place Him back on the throne instead of that treasure.
We all will face seasons of trials. The question is, how will you prepare for trials now, in the season of routine?
Let’s Talk About It: Which aspect of preparing for trials is the most difficult for you? Why?