Trials and tribulations will affect us all. Many brethren go through horrifying ordeals, true tragedies by any standard, and must carry on with life afterwards. At times, what is perhaps most tragic is the aftermath of these trials—bitterness, division, depression—scars that can fundamentally change a person. These permanent wounds are not God’s will for us. God has great use for the trials that assail his children, and we must prepare ourselves in advance, so that when these trials arrive, we can glorify God in our endurance. (1 Pet. 1:6-7; Jas. 1:2-4)
To prepare ourselves for trials, we must study God’s Word. The Word persuades readers to believe in its power—it is the only true rock we have in this world (Matt. 24:35). The best way to prepare for trials is to gain wisdom, and the only way to gain wisdom is through God’s Word. There is no wisdom apart from Him (Jas. 3:13-17). Understanding does not just happen. We ought not to deceive ourselves in thinking that attending worship once a week will give us a sufficient understanding of God’s Word. We must learn from Ezra, and fully devote our entire lives to searching God’s Truth. “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10).
To prepare ourselves for trials, we must submit to God’s Will. It’s not always possible to be absolutely certain of God’s specific will in each scenario. That’s why we must study God’s Word, and understand what God expects from us as sons. Paul did not understand God’s intention regarding the thorn in his flesh, but understood that his life was to be devoted to Christ, and that Christ’s power was working in his suffering (2 Cor. 12:8-10). Be obedient in the face of suffering, so that God can be glorified!
To prepare ourselves for trials, we must devote ourselves to prayer. Christ is the perfect example of preparation. He devoted his life completely to God’s Word and to prayer, fully understanding the trials ahead. Our Lord did not wait until the garden of Gethsemane to pray to God, but sought seclusion throughout his recorded ministry, for the purpose of drawing closer to the Father. If we wait until we are thrown in the fire to develop healthy prayer habits, we will not escape.
Jesus Christ lived his whole life in view of the Cross, and prepared every step of the way so that he could obediently endure. We must prepare for our own trials! Please do not wait until it is too late.