Does God allow trials in a righteous Christian’s life?

Does God allow trials in a righteous Christian’s life?

“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I (Jesus) have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” — Luke 22:31,32

This is a powerful piece of Scripture. Apart from its general understanding, its revelation is twofold – a) Jesus’ access to the throne of God, and b) the “shocking” reality of what God allows.
a) Having read in the book of Job what transpired before the throne of God, it is easy to comprehend what has likely transpired once again. Satan has dirtied earth’s streets with his roaming and picked on Peter, wanting to put Peter through the mill and sift him as wheat, as he did with Job. His vile and lowly figure has stood before the Almighty’s fiery throne and declared to God his putrid desires, having specifically asked for Peter. Peter has made some strong declarations and the devil wants to see what this “rock” is really made of. Can this be true? Peter himself declares later on in his first epistle that Satan walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Peter experienced it firsthand. Nevertheless, it is Jesus who revealed it, and He is no liar! How did Jesus know? This in itself is profound, for it reveals that although He was still on the earth as a man, He was nonetheless God and through the Holy Spirit had access to the very realms of Heaven and the throne room of God.
The very indication of threshing wheat is brutal. It literally denotes a beating. Satan wanted to give Peter a beating, a thrashing. It would not be a sweet, pleasant ride in the park. It would not elicit joyous emotions or foster blissful circumstances. It would be tough, trying, torturous. Satan picks on God’s people, because he seeks to prove to God that they are not genuine and would not hold up and stand fast nor cling to the LORD their God. He is ultimately not interested in getting at man but at God. Satan does not want to be like man but like God. God is the one he wanted to overthrow and whose throne he wants to usurp, not man’s. He uses man to get at God. He seeks to destroy man in order to trouble God. He seeks to damage the testimonies and reputations of God’s children in order to harm God. Here is Peter, a man who would eventually go out into the world and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was the man who brought in the first converts to Christianity, 3000 Jews on the day of Pentecost, with his first ever sermon!
b) Why would God allow such a trial, and why would Jesus not object? Jesus knew that when Peter had come through he would be stronger and able to strengthen his brethren as a result (verse 32 end). He would have come through having had the chaff and rubbish removed from his life, leaving only valuable and useful substance, wheat. Satan means it for harm, but God means it for good. Neither God nor Jesus stood in the way of the trial to stop it, but know for certain that for it to take place, God had to first permit it, just the same as was for Job. Satan does not have free reign over God’s precious children.
There is not one true Christian who does not go through some form of trial and a test of their faith. We cannot understand what the outworking will be in the life of the individual, but God knows what it will produce and the eternal value that it will have – many times not only for the individual suffering under the hardship of trial but also for others who will be impacted by that person’s life or work. Let us, therefore, not question God as to His wisdom in the face of testing and trials of righteous saints. While we may call out to God for mercy on their behalf – and Jesus prayed for Peter – let us nonetheless look upward and seek to see the eternal glory that it may produce.


Judson McCawl



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