A Trial for All Seasons & How to Lean Into Jesus

By lan Warner

You may have heard the saying that the Christian is either coming out of a trial, in a trial, or heading into a trial. The difficulty is encoded into the life of any Christian, and it will start to feel like you have a trial for all seasons. It doesn’t matter what the weather is or what is going on globally; the difficulty will seem to follow you everywhere you go.

I remember feeling this during my first few years of college. I had come out of high school with a major back injury, and I was really hoping that it would be behind me when I got to college, but I was so wrong.

The only thing I could do was redshirt the indoor track season because of the injury and the outdoor track season went really well, but at the biggest meet of the year, it all came crashing down.

I hurt my back so bad in a race that I could not walk or do anything without having bad spams. I was in a wheelchair for a few days to get around. It sucked!

When I got through that injury the next year, I was ready to be one of the top sprinters in the Big 12, and then BOOM, out of nowhere, I tear the crap out of my hamstring. I remember lying on the grind in tears, and I got up in anger; my mom had come from Toronto to watch me run, and she came to comfort me, and through my tears, I just said, “why does this keep happening to me.”

I was suffering through a trial for all seasons. When I got through one problem, it felt like five more problems would swallow me up. That is just with me going through difficulties as an athlete. But imagine experiencing something with:

  • Illness
  • Death
  • Job loss
  • Financial stress
  • Hearts broken

Why Must Christians Face So Much Difficulty?

2 Timothy 3:12

12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

James 1:12

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Luke 14:27

27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

The Bible is clear in reminding us that we will suffer because Christ had to suffer. We are called to live like Christ. He suffered after living a perfect life to the point of death on a cross. He was spit on, called a liar, and embarrassed in front of all, and he did not have to do it. But if he did not finish the work, we would still be on the hook for our sins.

The part of being a follower of Christ is that we are not promised ease or riches. We are not promised this life that looks rosy from cultural standards. Following Christ means that we will be persecuted and that some will even hate us.

The only reason for any of this is that it represents what Jesus had to go through to save us. When you look at someone like the Apostle Paul, he wrote 13 books in the New Testament, so it’s clear that God used him. Even knowing how much he was used to, it did not mean that his life was easy. He had to suffer greatly, and he spent a lot of time running out of towns from mobs and in jail simply for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.

The key is that you begin to look at your trials in life as a blessing. You can look at them in a different way than society. Most people get mad when they don’t get what they want. They throw a fit and look to blame others. The believer is called to something much different.

What to Do When You Suffer From a Trial for All Seasons

Romans 5:3-5

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

When you’re suffering, you should seriously rejoice. Know that it’s a sign that you’re following Christ and that Jesus is using you. Romans clearly states that suffering has a purpose. It shapes you and molds you into something greater than God can use. Suffering creates endurance, and that endurance builds your character and makes you more Christ-like, and from that, you increase your hope and reminds us that we were given the Holy Spirit.

When you duffer and feel defeated, you lean into that Holy Spirit. The Spirit will always lead you in the right direction. Sometimes it will look like worship, other days, it may be fellowship, and some night it may be time on your knees in prayer. Your goal is not to think about what to do but to yield and submit to the Holy Spirit and do as you are called.

Does a Trial For All Seasons Mean You’re Doing Something Wrong?

You may have some seasons in life where it feels like it’s impossible to win. But you have to remember that as a follower of Christ, you are not of this world. It’s hard to make this distinction when all we see around us is a world that cares about money and climbing to the top of power structures.

Colossians 3: 1-11 

Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and is in all.

Colossians is saying that with Christ, you have to put those old things behind you. When you believe in Jesus, you’re born again into his kingdom. Now your family is everyone who is a brother and sister in Christ instead of just your immediate family.

When you set your mind on things of the spirit, you see trials differently. You no longer see trials the way the world does. The world sees bad things happening and says that you must have done something bad to deserve what is happening. That is the same way they looked at Jesus even though he was an innocent man on the cross.

Remember What Jesus Did For You and Persevere

Focus on what Jesus did for you, and everything comes together for good for the Christian. God wanted to save people that could not get it right on their own. They received chance after chance and kept choosing sin over his ways. Eventually, God sent his only son down to live a perfect life being fully man and fully human at the same time. He did not even sin once, and that made him the perfect sacrifice.

God said that someone has to pay for the evil done in this world, but instead of making each of us pay for our wickedness, God took those lashes himself. Jesus was the obedient one who died for our own obedience, and because of this, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord.

When you put your hope in Jesus, there is no reason to worry. No trial can beat you because Jesus Christ beat death itself, and he promises you amazing things but not in this life. In this life, you get to live like Jesus and suffer, but in the next one, you won’t be able to imagine what our savior has in store.

lan Warner

Ian Warner is a believer, husband, and father of three. He grew up running track in Toronto before earning a scholarship to Iowa State University. At Iowa State, he became an All-American and made the 2012 Olympic team. He currently helps people to build better habits and follow Jesus Christ.

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