“Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil and let us see what we are made of.” —Charles Spurgeon
I agree with Charles Spurgeon: Trials are indeed a revelation. They are meant to be our teachers, revealing our true condition. When we encounter trials, we have the choice of what kind of student we want to be. Despite my imperfections, I want to do life well. I have the power to choose whether tests and trials will serve as messengers or simply leave me looking messy.
Continuing with the concept of trials as teachers, hear what Solomon had to share: “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:14 NKJV). When life is going well, it’s easy to be joyful. However, when life is difficult, we resort to complaining—at least, I do. This is a common response in times of trial, but here we are challenged to have a fresh perspective regarding adversity.
Solomon encouraged us to pause and consider—because when considering adversity, there is always more than meets the eye. Citing Spurgeon on trials once again, he shared, “I’ve learned to kiss the wave that slammed me into the rock.” He is not referring to a rocky coastline but Christ the rock. Each day is a new opportunity to determine how we will respond to life’s waves. Learning to “kiss the wave” means that we appreciate the lessons to be learned and the growth that results as we allow God to have His way in and through the chisel of adversity.
If we become defensive, then any issue that comes to light will remain a problem. If we humble ourselves, then the trial allows the Holy Spirit to increase our depth and therefore our capacity for godliness. Depth cannot be purchased—it must be pursued. It comes when we are brave enough to be honest. In that sense, depth is more like a muscle that is developed through consistent use.
The challenges of life reveal what we are made of without undermining who we are. Trials position us to grow more Christlike and therefore unshakable. They clear the ground and remove what impedes future growth. These encounters serve to refine and prepare us for future potential.
Trials are indeed teachers. What type of student will you be?