We see trials as bad. God use them to make us holy. None of us likes the trial, but the result many times brings us closer to God.
He will not spare the pruning knife if He sees that we need it!
“Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2
We learn from this verse, that God will often increase the holiness of true Christians by His providential dealings with them. The meaning of this language is clear and plain. Just as the gardener prunes and cuts back the branches of a fruitful vine, in order to make them more fruitful–so does God purify and sanctify believers by the circumstances of life in which He places them.
Trial, to speak plainly, is the instrument by which our heavenly Father makes Christians more holy. By trial, He calls out their passive graces, and proves whether they can suffer His will as well as do it. By trial, He . . .
weans them from the world,
draws them to Christ,
drives them to the Bible and prayer,
shows them their own hearts,
and makes them humble.
This is the process by which He “prunes” them, and makes them more fruitful.
The lives of the saints in every age are the best and truest commentary on the text. Never, hardly, do we find an eminent saint, either in the Old Testament or the New, who was not purified by suffering, and, like His Master, a “man of sorrows.”
Let us learn to be patient in the days of darkness, if we know anything of vital union with Christ. Let us remember the doctrine of the passage before us, and not murmur and complain because of trials. Our trials are not meant to do us harm, but good. God chastens us “for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10
Fruit is the thing that our Master desires to see in us–and He will not spare the pruning knife if He sees that we need it!
In the last day, we shall see that all was well done.
What an encouragement! God cares so much about us and about us spiritually that He chastens us. Who better than our Maker to do the job?
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001