Trial by Grace

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Ordained Chaplain
Oct 12, 2011
United States
“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness . . . Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2Co 12:10).

The thorn in the flesh was a heavy trial for Paul. It was not sent because of personal failure, but because of the abundance of revelation given to him—it was a preventative. There was danger lest the flesh (sin nature, not the physical body—NC) should boast (2Co 12:7), and God gives him a thorn. Paul preyed three times for its removal. The Father tells him that His grace is sufficient (if we trust in His grace we will be able to endure trials and difficulties much easier, yet every trial is hard—NC), there is no need to remove it, and moreover his infirmity was but an occasion “for the power of Christ to rest upon” him. Then he glories in that which he has prayed to be taken away. The Lord Jesus was exalted and Paul was content. Here is the moral fruit, the Father’s object in sending the thorn: no failure and no needed chastening here, but a lesson of grace to an honored servant of Christ.

The trials of saints, as they come from the Father, are generally if not always intimately connected with the position grace gives. The Father in His sovereignty calls His saints to fill various places of service, some to rule and authority, some to teaching or preaching, others may only know the place of suffering and weeping. Nevertheless all are for the carrying out of one great purpose, the accomplishment of one Will, a whole in which each saint however humble has his part.

The Father has a niche in His temple for each, a place assigned by grace. It is there that each is tested. But if grace appoints the place, it is always there to maintain saints in it (grace takes every believer through the trial, and thus never fails to learn—NC. Often the trial is allowed through our want of faith to hide the grace, and then we complain and murmur. “But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1Co 10:13). He always provides the necessary grace.

There are other trials which have their root in unfaithfulness. The Father permits such, but does not directly send them, and surely controls and guides to a gracious result, for His mercy endureth forever. Such trials become rods in His child-training hand. But when He sends trials to a faithful saint it is for the purpose of proving faith, which is “more precious than of gold that perisheth” (1Pe 1:7), though it be tired with fire, and of giving lessons in the school of faith.

The fruitful branch is purged that it may bring forth more fruit. More and better fruit is the Father’s object. Hidden things may be in the heart of the faithful unknown and therefore unjudged. The trial is sent to disclose the hidden thing that it may be purged away. Not all the trials are chastenings. We should gravely err if we judged every suffering saint to be under discipline through failure. Where there is faithfulness we often see what appears to be heaviest trials, but in truth it is for the display of the sustaining power of grace that others may see and learn.

—R Beacon

MJS daily devotional excerpt for April 20

“It is well to remember that the deepest and truest spiritual qualities are not learnt or established in us by our happy or enjoyable times, but in the difficult ones! There is nothing wrong in times of great joy and spiritual blessing; in fact we long for more of them, and look back perhaps to some days of much blessing in our lives or in the work of the Lord; but in the securing of Christ in greater measure in our lives, we find that it is by the things which we suffer that we learn most. So let us give thanks for the joyful days, and learn all that the Lord intends by the days of waiting and difficulty.” -C.J.B.H.
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