“And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.”
— Genesis 22:10
Call to mind the biggest trial you’ve ever faced (you might face it even today). Remember the struggle, the pain, the despair? Does it help to know that through your trials God tests and perfects your faith?
Consider Abraham trudging his way toward Mount Moriah to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. From Abraham’s trial and faithful response we gain great blessing, a treasure-trove of lessons, to give us insight into what God teaches us through trials.
The first lesson we learn from Abraham’s story is that God needs to test our faith to strengthen and purify it, just as gold must endure fire to gain strength and purity. God tested Abraham’s faith to determine upon whom Abraham relied, and Abraham passed the test by offering his son as a sacrifice. In turn, God provided another offering, a ram, saving Isaac’s life. As Abraham endured this trial, he gained even greater trust in God. Through our trials, we learn to trust less in ourselves and more in our heavenly Father.
Second, Abraham’s story teaches us that we’ll face trials throughout our entire lives. Even as a very old man, Abraham was called to leave his homeland and go to a place he did not know. When Abraham was ninety years old, God challenged him to believe he’d have a son. Until the end of Abraham’s life, God tried and perfected Abraham’s faith.
Third, we learn from Abraham’s story that God prepares us for difficult trials. Only after Abraham passed the tests of so many other trials did God allow the most difficult one to occur. God teaches us to climb the lower peaks before calling us to scale the loftiest summits. He teaches us to wade in the shallows before He calls us to plunge into the depths of the oceans. At each level of our faith, God has lessons for us to learn, and by His grace He enables us to pass successfully through each trial.
Take some encouragement from these lessons today. If you’re presently enduring a trial, know that God has not forgotten you. In fact, through it He wants to draw you closer to Him. Trust your heavenly Father to bring you through victoriously and with a greater faith in Him.