Christians must accept three facts as truth to trust the security of their faith at a fundamental level. First, as fallen humans created in God’s image, His purpose for mankind is to conform us to the image of Christ for His Glory.
Next, adversity has meaning despite its mystery to us, and God’s purpose is always good: “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Peter 4:19).
Finally, the tests and trials of adversity are secondary to our reaction to them.
The experience of adversity by any name – suffering, trial, testing, etc. – is a painful process that’s mysterious by nature: “Why does God let ‘X’ happen to ‘Y’?” However, all tests have purpose. If one could know the reason behind every test, it still wouldn’t diminish its impact; any student that’s studied for a final exam in school will confirm that as fact.
The difference between many Christians, and students taking final exams, is the students knew they were going to be tested and prepared in advance.
Scripture reveals Christians have been afforded the same advance notice: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3).
In the original language of the New Testament, the word “trial” (πειρασμός / pie-ras-MAHS) means “probation period,” and the word “testing” (δοκίμιον / dah-KEE-me-on) means “to test for genuineness.” God’s Word is telling us to have faith at the fundamental level, and prepare for His test. We're being refined and molded to accomplish greater things for God's glory.
The answers we give – our response to the testing – will be graded after the exam.
Having trust in the security of fundamental faith – God is good, tests have meaning, and responses matter – is a strategy that will withstand any test of adversity you encounter.
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though
our outer man is decaying, yet our inner
man is being renewed day by day.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16 ~