To all who believe in the Goodness of God,
When you encounter adversity in your life, whether it comes through no fault of your own, or because of your own words or actions, rejoice! Your Heavenly Father is treating you as a son or daughter, and you are being perfected for the Kingdom of God!
Consider that gold and silver must first be melted in a furnace before their impurities can be removed. The more thorough the refinement process is, the more perfect the end product becomes; and the purer the gold, the greater its value.
The same is true of trials. Adversity is the process through which we must go in order to come to know ourselves more perfectly. Life’s trials draw out our inconsistencies — the conflicts which exist within us between what we profess to believe versus what we actually do when put to the test. For example, if we say we believe that we are to love our neighbor to the same degree and with the same strength as we love ourselves, do we then add conditions and disclaimers to that belief? Rather than doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, in practice do we actually only do unto them as they do unto us? Are we warm only to those who are kind to us, but cold to everyone else?
All trials are potential learning experiences, so the first thing we ought to do when we encounter adversity is look to God, as the source of all wisdom, and ask Him for understanding: “Father, what is it that you have for me to learn from my present circumstances?”. Ask — and believe without doubting that you will receive — and you WILL be given your answer. For why should you doubt? Do you not believe that God intends ALL things for your benefit? If we ask Him for things that are not only beneficial, but essential for our spiritual purification, do we imagine that He would ever possibly withhold them? “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
But we must also be cognizant that the answers we seek won’t always arrive immediately. Having believed, we must also persist in the conviction. If the answer seems delayed, far off on some distant horizon, perhaps patience is part of the lesson. We receive from God that which we expect from Him, so if our faith falters and our minds settle on uncertainty, we can rightfully expect that we will receive nothing. God does not operate according to our timetables and schedules, so hold fast, persevere, and don’t let go until He answers!
Then, after we receive what we have asked for, the next step is to take the newly gained understanding, apply it, and begin to put it into practice consistently. When we do this, we will have taken a significant stride towards perfection; and our value as servants of God will have grown.
Finally, remember also that the more fiery the trial, the greater its refining power. Therefore let us welcome adversity into our lives as an honored, albeit temporary, guest: one who visits to unburden us of those things within which are false, so that only that which is true remains; and so we may become people of integrity, suitably equipped for service to God.