Chaplain’s Corner: Finding hope in the trials that we face

phippsBy Chaplain (Capt.) Brian S. Phipps /

Throughout our lives we find ourselves continually faced with challenges that affect us and our families.

Sometimes the challenges or trials we are faced with are caused by bad choices, but most of the time the trials we encounter come from circumstances we have no control over. For some it may be a PCS and for others it may be a death in the family; however, regardless of the situation we often find ourselves sitting back and wondering why is this happening to me.

When I find myself in a situation like this, a verse that frequently comes to mind is James 1:2-3 which says:

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” In this passage of scripture James is telling us that the trials we go through are designed to grow us in our faith and prepare us for future challenges.

Each trial increases our endurance to make it through this race called life. For some knowing that we will face trials is not something to get excited about, but James assures us that we should find joy in the trials that we are facing because it is in that trial that we will find God leading us through the hills and valleys.

Thomas Manton writes, “while all things are quite and comfortable, we live by sense rather than faith. But the worth of a Soldier is never known in times of peace.”

Most of us are brought up to handle things on our own. We even have said things like I don’t need your help, I am not helpless or I can figure this out on my own. Some of the trials that we go through can be solved on our own without any help from anyone else, but it is the big trials that we face that overwhelm us and even consume us that we cannot make it through alone no matter how hard we try.

These are the types of trials that you cannot not make it through without help. In these circumstances the only real way through this type of trial is with God. Until we are willing to submit to God’s grace and direction, we will continuously be consumed and devoured by the trial. We know that we are going to face trials throughout our lives and when we encounter these trials we are faced with two choices. We can either continue to try and make it on our own, drowning in many cases, or we can allow God to help us through our daily trials.

This past week I had to recertify on the gas chamber for the year and I was reminded of something I was told in Chaplain School: “In the Army we are tested on different skills over and over again to teach us to trust our training and our equipment.” In the same way God is teaching us through various trials to rely on Him and not ourselves. I pray that you find hope in this.

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