One of the most intriguing stories ever told about an extreme experience of tests and trials is about a rich and upright man who lost his ten children, servants, houses, livestock, and all his investments in one day. In addition to all the misfortunes, he was afflicted with horrible skin sores. His wife encouraged him to curse God and die while his friends persuaded him to accept his fate as a pay-back for his sins. It is important to note here that the man was going through trials to prove his uprightness, but his wife and his friends did not have such knowledge. It is wrong to judge people when we do not know their entire story.
Instead of giving up and cursing God or blaming himself for no reason, Job exclaims, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Beyond his tests and trials, the story of Job ended in praises as God restored his fortunes more than what he had before (Joh 42: 10).
There are times when people go through hard tests and trials that could be challenging and devastating. To suffer for one’s mistakes is relatable but to go through some crucibles for no crime could be disturbing, and that happens to be the background of the First Reading today (Wisdom 2:12, 17-20). The passage tells us about the plot by the wicked to beset an unnamed just one, that is the innocent person because he would not support evil. One thing that comes out very well in the plot is the plan to PUT HIM TO THE TEST and TRY HIS PATIENCE.
Somewhere I read that a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. In life, we become what we are by going through it. Sometimes, God would allow tests and trials to come our way to gauge our faith and trust in him. God tested Abraham’s faith through a long period of childlessness even when God had promised to make him the father of a multitude of nations (Gen. 17:4-6). God also allowed Satan to pummel Job with several calamities to prove a point about Job’s unwavering faith and trust. This explains Paul’s statement to Timothy that anyone who wants to live a godly life would be tested (2 Tim. 3:12).
Moving Forward When Tests and Trials Come!
In life, we often face a lot of things that come around to put us to the test and try our patience. They come through various people and events in our lives. “How do you react to those tests and trials in your life?” Often, we complain and blame everyone including God and forget one crucial thing; putting our trust in Him. Even those plotting against the innocent confirmed that according to his own words, God would take care of him. Do you equally believe that God can take care of you in the tests and trials of the moment?
For every trial, we need to be patient and put our total trust in God, not on our understanding (Prov. 3:5). In the Gospel Reading today (Mark 9:30-37), our Lord Jesus Christ tells his disciples that he would be handed over to men and they will kill him, but he would rise after three days. Our Lord’s exhortation summarizes the fact that every test or trial would always come to an end, primarily if we rely on God to uphold our lives. The human persecutions and trials would eventually give way to God’s triumphant exaltation.
As we enter the new week, let us open our minds and hearts to accept the tests and trials that may confront us with the exemplary humility of a child as our Lord Jesus Christ recommended in the Gospel narrative today. With God helping us, the tests and trials in our lives will lead us to discover the best versions of ourselves. May God bless His words and presence in our hearts while granting us a renewed commitment to Him in our life’s journey. Have a beautiful Sunday and a blessed week ahead.