Turning Your Trials Into Triumph, Pt. 2

Date: 02/18/2023 
Why do we go through trials? How can we turn our trials into triumphs? Part 2 of 2

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Doug Batchelor: One of the most important topics in Scripture is the subject of family. From Genesis to Revelation, family is explained and magnified as being both a blessing and a necessity. There's a heavenly family above, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and all the angels, and there are families on the earth in every nation, tongue, tribe, and people. And there's also such a thing as a church family, a collection of people coming together for one specific purpose, to worship God. It's that unity in the assembly which is of particular importance to God. In Ephesians chapter 4, Paul urges us to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. If you think about it, this is what composes a home, people uniting to form a family, creating a home. Friends, Jesus is wanting to adopt you. He's inviting you to join his family. He draws everyone unto Him through Calvary with the intention to unite His people on earth and prepare them for that journey to the heavenly home. It's my hope that today's program will bring you closer to Jesus and inspire you with a desire to be part of His family. And don't forget, stay tuned for a very important free offer at the end of this presentation.

Doug: I remember hearing a interesting story, that in Central Africa, the English had an outpost somewhere in the Congo, and there was a captain there. This is back in the late 1700's, early 1800's, and the captain had a servant named John, the English captain. He was an African, and he was a Christian. He had been converted, and he was very positive, and they worked together and he'd often take him on hunts together. The captain would go out in the jungle with John and they'd hunt, and they spent a lot of time together. He was sort of like his personal attendant.

And he really liked John, except he had this one habit that was very annoying, that no matter what happened, he always said, "Ah, this is good. Ah, this is good." If it was raining, he'd say, "Ah, this is good." Captain would say, "Why is it good? It's gonna be all muddy." He says, "There'll be no dust, this is good." And if it was hot and dry, he'd say, "Ah, this is good." He said, "Why is this good?" "There'll be no mud." A lightning struck someone's hut, burned it down, he said, "Ah, this is good." He says, "Why would you say this is good?" He says, "I don't know, but everything God does is good." And in a few days, the village got together and built them a bigger and a better hut. He said, "I told you this is good."

And so, this went on for quite a while, until one day, the English captain and John were off hunting with a small band of soldiers in the jungle, and he saw this prize buck impala, and this is back before they had the, you know, regular repeating rifles, and you had to pour the gunpowder in and put the shot in, and John took care of the rifle for the captain. He put in the powder, and he put in the shot, he gave it to the captain, the captain aimed, boom, the gun blew up in his face, it misfired. It was a very dangerous operation back then, burnt the hair off his face, and worst of all, it blew off the tip of his finger, and the buck got away. And the captain is there hopping up and down, and he's grabbing his finger, and you know what John said? "Ah, this is good." And the captain got so angry, he ordered the soldier, he said, "Take him back and put him in the cellar. Put him in jail."

And so, they carried off John and they put him in jail, and he stayed there for a month in the barracks in their cellar, and the captain's finger started to heal up a little bit, and he went out by himself to go hunting. He wanted to see if he could pull the trigger with his other finger, and while he was off on this excursion, he was captured by another tribe that carried him off, and they were going to sacrifice him, and they practiced cannibalism. And just before they executed him, the witch doctor came over and looked him over and saw he was missing the tip of his finger. And there was a great hubbub, and the outcome was they said that the ancestors would not accept anything but a perfect sacrifice. They said, "Now you must let him go."

So, the captain was freed, and while he's making his way back to the outpost, he's thinking, you know, missing the tip of my finger saved me. John was right. And here I put him in jail for a month and he was my friend. So, he gets back and brings John out of the cellar. He said, "I am so sorry. You are my friend, and because of that one accident, might have even been the rifle, I don't know, I got mad at you because, oh, this is good, and I put you in the cellar." He said, "Will you forgive me?" He said, "There's no problem," he said, "This is good." He said, "How can you say it is good that you were in the cellar?" He said, "I prayed more in the cellar, and if I was with you, they would have eaten me."


All things work together for good. I think we all know that there are trials in life, there are struggles in life. It goes all the way back to the beginning when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, and what was that fruit called? Not an apple, it was the knowledge of good and evil. And that just seems to be the lot of men in life. We've all inherited a combination of good and evil. I was thinking even during this morning, you know, we're hearing about the celebration of a wedding and the sadness of a funeral. And you know, there are trials in life. Job said in Job chapter 2, verse 10, Job who is a man that was great and blessed, when all this adversity fell upon him, he said to his wife, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and shall we not accept adversity?" Jesus said your heavenly Father sends the sunshine and the rain on everybody. Good and bad get good and bad.

And so, how do we as Christians process, and how can we make the most of the various trials that might come to us in life? The Lord wants us to be able to take advantage of these things to grow and to learn. Now, please don't be discouraged or don't be afraid when I tell you that you're going to have problems in life. There are trials in life, and as time goes by, you sometimes face more, and God gives you more strength to endure and bear those things, but don't be afraid. Jesus was very clear, even in a storm. He told his disciples, "Why are you afraid?" Fear not, fear not, fear not.

As someone once said that a man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears, just makes it worse. So, don't live in fear of those things. God will not allow you to be tested above what you're able, amen? You've got a loving heavenly Father that will measure what He allows you to go through and He will then give you the strength to endure those things. Thomas à Kempis, and I don't know if you've ever read the primary book by Thomas à Kempis, but it's rather profound. It talks about how you can walk with God and have a Christlike attitude. He said, "He who knows how to suffer will enjoy much peace. Such a one is a conqueror of himself, the Lord of the world, a friend of Christ, and an heir of heaven." And Helen Keller said, "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming of it." So, there are trials in life, and then God, He gives us ways to overcome.

We're going to talk a little bit, and this is part two, I told you I'd give you about five more reasons or ways that we can see these trials turned into triumph. And the first thing I should mention, one of the most important ways is to avoid suffering by avoiding sin. And I hope this is obvious to everybody, but a whole lot of suffering that comes into our life is the consequence of bad decisions that we make. You could be free from a lot of trials and suffering that are self-induced because of bad choices that we make. And the Word of God is pretty clear on that. Proverbs 13:15, "Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard."

It is easier to be a Christian than to be lost. Life is tough, but it is easier to be saved than to be lost. People say I don't want to be a Christian, it's so hard. It's a lot harder to be lost. The Bible says the way of the transgressor is hard, and Jesus says my yoke is what? Easy, my burden is light, Matthew 11, and so just right away understand it's going to be easier for you to follow Jesus. Which was easier, for the children of Israel to be slaves in Egypt, serving Pharaoh with no hope, or to follow Jesus or the Lord through the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land? They were both tough, but it was a lot easier to be free and have God in their presence than to be hopeless slaves in Egypt.

And that's really your choice. You can either be a slave of the devil and miserable, or you can make your way to the Promised Land. And there's going to be trials along the way, but it is so much better, amen? Trials grow Christian virtues. First Peter 1:6-7, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you've been grieved by various trials." Notice the word "trial." "That the trying of your faith be much more precious than that of gold that perishes, though it is tried with fire," fiery trials. "It might be founded to praise, and honor, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."

We want to be found ready for the appearing of Jesus Christ. Trials is one of the ways that God gets us ready. It's helping us to develop those Christian virtues. You read in Romans 5 verse 3, "And not only that, but we glory in tribulations," and we're talking trials, tribulation, same thing. "Knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character," talking about the right kind of character, "And character, hope," and what produces that? Tribulations, if you embrace the trials as something from your heavenly Father, and say, Lord, let me learn whatever it is you want me to learn, and know that it's for your good, then you'll be blessed.

You probably heard before about a lot of raptors, like eagles, that when they first build their nest, they get all the sticks, and they get smaller sticks, and then they end up putting in some down, and they make the nest very soft, and they collect this down, and the cat tails and things, they make this soft bed inside because they don't want the chick on the sticks, and the rocks, and the bones that are in there, and they lay their eggs. Then when the eggs hatch, the mother and father eagle bring all the food, and those little chicks, they grow and they get big, and they sit on the edge of the nest.

So, you know what the parents do? They stop bringing very much food, and the young birds start flapping their wings, and if they don't get out of the nest quick enough, then what they do is they start taking all the down out of the nest, all the soft stuff is taken out of the nest, and you know, they've been eating these little critters and so there's like sharp bones, and there's rocks, and there's sticks, and the birds just get so uncomfortable, they can't even get down in the nest anymore. They're up on the edge all the time trying to flap their wings to catch their balance, and that's how the parents ultimately teach them to launch. They make them uncomfortable so they can learn to fly.

Sometimes your heavenly Father will make you uncomfortable so you can learn to fly, and you wonder why is this? Don't they love me anymore? Why did they take all the down out of the nest? Oh, it's because they do love you that this happens. So, he does it to let us grow Christian virtue. Psalm 119 verse 71, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes." Well, that's pretty clear and to the point. Someone pointed out once that the trees were the most valuable wood, and the finest grain are the ones that grow on the mountain, beaten by the storms. The trees that get hit by all the storms develop the tightest grain because they're always being tested and shaken. And God helps us develop these Christian virtues by trial.

Okay, point number two, trials help us to empathize with others. You know, Job was afflicted, and I felt really sorry for Job when I realized all he went through, but I have been encouraged. When I go through trouble, I can always almost say always, well, it isn't as bad as Job. I mean, I'm having a hard time, but people have had it much worse. His suffering has been a source of comfort to me. Sometimes when we go through a hard time or a trial, it makes us a lot more empathetic with other people. When I was a young pastor, I'd do a funeral, I hadn't really experienced much death in my life, and it was sort of a little more perfunctory. But as the years go by and you lose mother, and brother, and father, and son, and then you do a funeral, you have a lot more empathy and sympathy when you've been through the trials yourself, you know what I'm saying?

So, this is one reason God allows it, so we can care. Hebrews 4:15, "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness," praise God, "But in all points was tempted as we are, yet without sin." When you pray, can you ever say to Jesus, well, Lord, you don't know what it's like? He knows what it's like, doesn't He? First of all, he knows what it's like because He's God and He knows everything, but part of the reason the Lord came to earth and went through what He went through is so we would know that He knows what it's like, because we know that He was a man and He lived in this world and went through all kinds of trials. Isaiah 53, verse 4, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted."

Point three, how do we turn our trials into triumph? Trials create an opportunity to witness. Now, this is one of my favorite parts of the message today. If you turn in your Bibles to Acts chapter 16, I'd like to read it with you real quick. Acts chapter 16, and this is the story of Paul and Silas when they are in prison. I'm going to back up and give you the background. You go to verse 16, Acts 16:16, you can find that. "Now it happened as we went to prayer," they're doing ministry in Philippi. "It happened as we went to prayer," Paul and Silas, "That a certain slave girl possessed with the spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by her fortune telling." She's into the occult, and evidently she's connected with the devil. "This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out," Luke is writing, "Cried out, saying, 'These men are servants of the Most High God who proclaimed to us the way of salvation.'"

Now, was there anything untrue about what she said? No, it's absolutely true. Will the devil sometimes mix truth to get credibility before he shares lies? And Paul knew what she was up to. "And this she did for many days," but Paul greatly annoyed, he finally turned around and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her," and he, the devil, came out of her that very hour. "And when her master saw that the hope of their profit was gone, they were outraged."

The devil doesn't like it very much when he's cast out of his territory. "They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities, and they brought them to the magistrates and said, 'These men being Jews exceedingly trouble our city, and they teach customs which are not lawful for us being Romans to receive and observe.' Then the multitude stirred into a fury. They rose up together against them and the magistrates tore off their clothes and they commanded them to be beaten with rods," which by the way was illegal to do to a Roman citizen. "And when they had laid many stripes on them," they got beaten severely, innocent, "They threw them into prison." It'd be a terrible trial to be beaten, falsely accused, thrown in prison, "Commanding the jailer to keep them securely. The jailer having received such a charge, he put them in the inner prison." There's no air conditioning and it's uncomfortable. He fastens their feet in the stocks.

So, okay, you get the picture? And says then at midnight, so Paul and Silas earlier in the day, they're on their way to prayer. The devil doesn't like it when you pray. So, Lord, we were just going to pray. We cast out a devil, isn't that a good thing? And then we got falsely accused, we got beaten, we were put in prison, put in the stocks in a dark innermost cell. What would you do? I'd probably complain, I'd feel sorry for myself, I'd be singing a dirge. But it says, "At midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God."

In their trial, they are praising God, and because they're praising God and glorifying God in their trial, look at what happens. "Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all of the doors were opened and everybody's chains were loosed." Now, this is an earthquake caused by an angel. It's not seismic activity, because very odd earthquake where all of a sudden all the doors open up and the chains fall off, you with me? Earthquakes usually don't take handcuffs off. Everyone's chains were loosed, "And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open," see, if a jailer back then lost his charge, he was executed. You read in Acts 12 when those jailers lost Peter, Herod had them killed. So, "When the jailer woke up, supposing the prisoners had fled, he drew his sword and was about to fall on it like King Saul. And Paul called out, saying, 'Do yourself no harm.'"

Now, if it was me and the guy had whipped me, I'd say go for it, but Paul loves his enemies. He says, "Do yourself no harm, for we are here." Not only were Paul and Silas here, but all the prisoners were still there. You notice something I ran past, it says they were singing hymns and the prisoners were listening to them. Other people in prison are listening and watching to see how you act in trial. He says we're all here. "The jailer called for a light and he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas." A little bit ago they were before the jailer being beaten, now he's before them. "And he brought them out, and he said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'" Don't you love to hear that question? What brought him to that? They're singing through their dark trials at midnight. So, they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household."

Now, it doesn't mean that you save your household just by you believing, you keep reading. "Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and all who were in his house." The whole household heard the word. He took them home. The jailor's house was usually adjoining the jail. "And he took them the same hour that night and he washed their stripes and immediately he and his whole family were baptized." Isn't that wonderful? "And when he had brought them into his house, he set foot before them and rejoiced." He was going to commit suicide a few hours earlier. He rejoices having believed in God with all of his household.

What a wonderful story, friends. How through their faithfulness in this trial, and they're praising God, not only is a jailer and his family safe, but you notice everybody's chains are loosed. This is what happens if we are faithful when we are going through suffering and trials. You are always the best witness in your trials. When does the light shine the brightest? When it's dark, amen.

Point number four, trials help us to focus on eternity. Helps us keep perspective. Romans 8:8, "For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to which is going to be revealed in us." It is so much easier to go through our trials and to bear them, first of all, if you know it's temporary. In case you didn't know, friends, this is not it. This life is not it. This is actually very small compared to what will really be it. Eternity is what ought to be filling our mind, keeping the big perspective.

You know, sometimes you'll see a boxer in the middle of the ring, and they're bludgeoning each other, and you think, how can they stand that? Well, they're about to get $2 million, it's really a great motivator. And the reward helps them stay on their feet as long as possible. Do you remember the reward? Second Corinthians 4:17, "For our light affliction we are afflicted." How does Paul refer to it? Have you ever listened to what Paul went through? Beaten with rods three times, shipwrecked twice, spent a night in the day in the sea, you know, stoned. I was stoned to death once, you listen to Paul and Paul says our light affliction. "Our light affliction which is but for a moment compared to eternity." How long is it? "Our light affliction which is for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we do not look at the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen." What do we look at?

You want to turn your trials into triumph? Focus on the finish line. Focus on the victory. Focus on heaven. Makes it a lot easier to bear. Jesus said he that endures to when? The end will be saved. Don't give up. The devil wants to discourage us.

Point number five, trials remind us to be thankful. First of all, thank the Lord, it's not always that way, for the good times. You can look where Job during his trials he looks back on the times of his blessing. Job 29, verse 4, "Just as I was in the days of my prime, when the friendly council of God was over my tent, when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were around me, when my steps were bathed with cream, and the rock poured out rivers of oil for me." Sometimes you and I are living through times of incredible blessings and we forget about it until you're going through suffering, and then you know what you say in the time of suffering? Those were the good old days and we didn't even know it, right?

Now, I don't know if you know friends, but there's a time of trouble coming to our world, and if we're going to have a faith that's going to stand up, if our tree is not going to get blown over in that storm, we need roots, amen? And one way to have those roots is to embrace the trials that come. Now, if we are faithful in those things that are at least we will ultimately be faithful in much.

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