“I love trials! I wish I faced one every day!!”

This is something you seldom or do not hear at all.

Problems can get so heavy sometimes that we get derailed from pursuing our purpose or worse, we lose sight of it. When problems come, we tend to feel feel stuck or get so angry and frustrated.

I remember feeling this way many times in the past when I faced problems with family, friends, co-workers, or in my finances. I got so downhearted that I succumbed to ranting and drowned in self-pity.

Other times I lashed out at those who I considered were the source of my problems. I even blamed God, compared myself to others, and doubted His love for me. There were also times when I looked to other things that could numb my emotions or provide temporary escape from my problems.

As my self-centeredness grew, my sense of purpose weakened. My purpose became less important as I focused more on my problems and hurts. Because of this, I felt a lack of joy in doing my daily tasks.

But God didn’t let me drown in my overly emotional pity-party. He never let me go and was so patient in helping me through His Word and the people He placed in my life.

Slowly, I learned that the trials I experience have a purpose. Realizing this, I can steadfastly pursue my purpose even in the midst of great trials. Here are some truths I’ve learned that I hope will be helpful to you too:

Trials don’t change our purpose. We are all created for a purpose, and this doesn’t change despite our changing situations.

In the Bible, Jeremiah was chosen by God to be a prophet. Since his prophecies were filled with bad news for God’s people, they disliked hearing from him. He was mocked, persecuted, and imprisoned.

In his great pain, Jeremiah complained to God and even cursed the day he was born.  But he never turned away from God. Jeremiah ran to God in the midst of trials, and he was able to fulfill his purpose. God faithfully rescued and instructed Jeremiah all throughout the hardships he experienced.

God may not have called us to be a prophet like Jeremiah, but He gave all of us a purpose. His Word tells us that our purpose is to glorify Him and serve others using our God-given gifts.

Trials build our character. God cares for our comfort, but He is also committed to help us grow in our character.  We can learn patience, self-control, forgiveness, endurance, gentleness, kindness, and faith in the different trials we face (Romans 5:3–5). These are character traits we need in order to succeed in our purpose.

Trials help us know God better. Our greatest comfort in trial is God Himself. I was used to running to my friends first instead of God whenever I faced problems. But my small group leader once made herself unavailable to teach me a valuable lesson: God can comfort me in a way that others can’t. I’m grateful that my closest friends always point me back to God. He gives me complete security, joy, and assurance that others simply can’t. He restores my joy and my sense of purpose. The trial may last for a long time, but I know that God will come through for me.

I cry out to God Most High,

   to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

Psalm 57:2

How do we pursue our purpose in the midst of trial?
  1. Run to God. God is our help, comfort, strength, and refuge in our time of need. He reminds us of our purpose and empowers us with His Spirit.
  2. Repent. I can identify with the self-pity and worry, but I now realize that they are subtle sins. Self-pity makes us wallow in negative emotions because we think that we didn’t get what we deserve. It is a selfish response that chokes our faith. Confess these and other sins to God and turn away from them.
  3. Read, reflect on, and respond to God’s Word. As we read and meditate on God’s Word, we realign our heart to what He desires for our lives. But we must always respond in obedience to what it says.
  4. Rest. When the Prophet Elijah faced discouragement and trials, he felt like he just wanted to die (1 Kings 19:4–8). God’s practical solution? He told Elijah to take a nap and eat some food. After he fully rested, he was reenergized to pursue his purpose again. Give yourself unhurried time to rest, think, and pray. Maybe all you need is good rest and good food.
  5. Recharge with friends. Surround yourself with people who will not just pity you and add to your despair but will instead push you toward God and your purpose.
  6. Rediscover your gifts and strengths. If you stopped using the gifts and strengths that God has given you out of frustration because of problems and discouragement, then it’s time to start again. As you contribute to God’s kingdom and pursue your purpose in the midst of trials, I believe that God will restore your joy. After all, one who refreshes others will be refreshed as well. (Proverbs 11:25)

We were not just created to live this life for our own sake. We were made to lead others to God. God promises that we can continue to do good even in the midst of suffering. A self-centered perspective amid trials makes us lose sight of our purpose, but a God-centered perspective ignites our purpose.

Trials will inevitably come, and they will surely end. But we can rest on the fact that amidst these trials, God remains constant and He will give us the grace to fulfill His purpose in our lives.