Trials Bible Study

Trials are a challenge to our faith. It is difficult for us to accept that God would allow us to suffer, and not heal when we pray for healing. What does the Bible say about suffering, and the basis for our trust in God in the face of human suffering?

These are my personal Bible study notes.

God's Blessing on Righteousness

Exodus 15:25-26 Promise to spare the Israelites from the diseases the Egyptians suffered — if they were obedient.
Exodus 23:25-28 Blessings on bread and water; take sickness away; drive out enemies.
Leviticus 26:3-13
Deuteronomy 7:12-16
Deuteronomy 11:13-17
Deuteronomy 28:1-14
1 Kings 2:3 David told Solomon to be diligent to obey God, so that he would be blessed.
2 Chronicles 17:3-13 God's blessings on Jehoshaphat and Judah due to their faithfulness to God.
Psalm 1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly... But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night...
Psalm 34:1-22 ...fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing... (though note v.19: Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.)
Psalm 50:15 Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you...
Psalm 84:11-12 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!
Psalm 91
Psalm 103:1-5
Psalm 115:12-15
Psalm 121 God's blessing on His people (no mention of obedience in this psalm, but an implication of trusting in Him).
Psalm 128
Proverbs 11:8; 13:25; 15:6-9
Jeremiah 17:7-8
Jeremiah 32:19 God sees us and gives to us according to our ways and the fruits of our doings.
Malachi 3:10 (in the case of tithing)
Revelation 3:10 God may spare the obedient from trials.

Healing

Exodus 15:25-26 Promise to spare the Israelites from the diseases the Egyptians suffered — if they were obedient. "I am the Lord who heals you".
Exodus 23:25-26 Blessings on bread and water; take sickness away.
Deuteronomy 32:39 God is the one who wounds and who heals.
2 Kings 1:1-6,16-17 God rebuked king Ahaziah (son of Ahab king of Israel) for seeking Baal-Zebub the god of Ekron about his injury, instead of Yahweh God of Israel.
2 Kings 20:7 Hezekiah recovered after Isaiah said to put figs on the boil.
2 Chronicles 7:12-16 God's promise to heal His people who humble themselves and pray to Him in His holy temple.
2 Chronicles 16:12 Asa became diseased in his feet. He did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.
Psalm 41:3-8
Psalm 91:3-6,10
Psalm 103:3
Psalm 146:5-9
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
Isaiah 53:4-5; 1 Peter 2:24 We are healed thanks to Christ's sacrifice.
Isaiah 57:15-19 God will heal despite the sins and backsliding of His people. He will heal that backsliding nature.
Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me Lord, and I will be healed.
Jeremiah 30:17 God will restore health and heal wounds.
Jeremiah 31:33 New Covenant involves putting God's law on people's heart and mind. Healing of a sinful nature.
Matthew 11:2-6; Luke 7:18-23 Christ's message to John: Christ healed physically, and is our spiritual healing.
Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26 Christ forgives and heals a paralytic. He used physical healing to indicate His power to forgive sins, which is the greater and more vital miracle.
Luke 10:9 Jesus sending out His disciples: Heal the sick, and say to them, "The kingdom of God has come near to you." They were representatives of God's kingdom. Healing is symbolic of the nature of God's kingdom.
Revelation 22:2 Future tree of life with leaves for the healing of the nations.

On the other hand, Scriptures that are more pro getting help from doctors:

Matthew 4:6-7 Don't test the Lord. Would refusing a known remedy and then expecting God to protect us from a sickness fall into that category?
Colossians 4:14 Luke is described as "the beloved physician", so doctors aren't inherently bad.

Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48 Woman with flow of blood, healed by Jesus. Physicians had been unable to help her, and rather had made her worse. Even still, He didn't criticise her for seeking help from physicians.

Trials

Psalm 34:17-19 "...Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all."
Psalm 44 Asking God why He is afflicting His people, and not helping them as in old times.
Psalm 71:20 "You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth."
Psalm 77 In the midst of a trial, with doubts and fears, remembering God's amazing works of old.
Psalm 88 Crying out to God in a bitter trial.
Psalm 102 A psalm of one whose life is shortened and in suffering. In v.23 it even speaks of God shortening one's life and weakening strength.
Psalm 119:75,81-88
Psalm 129:1-3 "Many times they have afflicted me from my youth" let Israel now say.
Psalm 138:7
Matthew 7:14 difficult way
Mark 9:49
John 16:33 In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Acts 9:16 Paul had to suffer many things for Christ's sake.
Acts 14:22 Continue in the faith. We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.
Romans 8:17-39
Romans 12:1 Present our bodies a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:12 "...patient in tribulation..."
1 Corinthians 10:13
2 Corinthians 1:3-10 God's comfort in our suffering. We have both sufferings and consolation of Christ.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10
2 Corinthians 7:4-7 Tribulations, and comfort in fellow brethren.
2 Corinthians 13:3-4 We live in physical weakness, but through Christ are made strong.
Philippians 3:7-11 Paul suffered loss of all things he previously held dear. Verse 10 talks of knowing "the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death".
Colossians 1:24 Rejoice in sufferings?!
1 Thessalonians 3:3-5 Paul and fellow ministers were "appointed to afflictions".
2 Timothy 2:3 endure hardship as a good soldier
James 1:2-4; 5:7-11 Have joy in trials, knowing they produce growth.
1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials...
1 Peter 5:9 same sufferings experienced by our brotherhood in the world.
1 Peter 5:10 "May God... after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you."

Persecution

Psalm 94:20-21 The throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, gathers against the life of the righteous.
Isaiah 51:7-8,12 Do not fear those who persecute you.
Jeremiah 15:15-21 Jeremiah struggled with persecution, and questioned why God allowed it.
Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego faced Nebuchadnezzar even with the prospect of death in the furnace.
Daniel 6:1-23 Daniel faced the prospect of death in the lions' den due to his faith in God.
Daniel 7:21,25 Saints shall be "given into the hand" of a horn of the 4th beast, and the horn shall prevail against them for 3½ times.
Daniel 8:24 Notable horn from one of 4 horns from Greek empire—will destroy the holy people.
Daniel 11:32-35 Some of God's people to fall to the beast power in the end time, though preaching God's word before they fall.
Daniel 12:7 "...when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished."
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
Matthew 10:16-39 I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be wise as serpents, harmless as doves.
Matthew 13:20-21 In the parable of the sower, the seed sown on stony ground is someone who stumbles due to tribulation or persecution.
Matthew 24:9 They will deliver you up to persecution and kill you.
Mark 8:34-38 Be prepared to suffer for our faith in Christ, even to lose our physical life.
Luke 6:20-23 Beatitudes. Blessings on the poor, those who hunger, those who weep, those who are persecuted.
John 15:18-25 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.
John 16:1-3 Persecution of apostles. Be put out of synagogues.
John 17:14 God's people hated for not being part of the world.
Acts 20:18-24 Paul's ministry in the face of persecution.
Romans 8:31-39 Assurance in God in the midst of persecution.
Philippians 1:28-29 We will suffer for His sake. But, a Christian must be bold not terrified.
Ephesians 3:1; Philippians 1:13-14; Colossians 4:3,18; Philemon 1:10,13,23 Apostle Paul was in chains due to his preaching of the gospel message.
1 Thessalonians 2:2 Paul and companions were persecuted at Philippi.
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 persecution from religious authorities.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-7 persecutions and tribulations of faithful brethren.
1 Timothy 4:10 ...we suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God...
2 Timothy 1:8; 2:9 Apostle Paul imprisoned for his preaching of the gospel.
2 Timothy 3:12 All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Hebrews 11:23-29 Moses' and Israelites' persecution in Egypt.
Hebrews 11:32-38 Persecutions of God's people through history.
1 Peter 2:19-25 Follow Christ's example of suffering.
1 Peter 3:13-18 We may suffer for righteousness' sake.
1 Peter 4:12-19 Rejoice to the extent we partake of Christ's sufferings. If you are reproached for the name of Christ...
Revelation 2:10 Smyrna the persecuted church. Satan was about to throw some of them into prison, that they may be tested, and have tribulation 10 days. Their persecution might even be to death. "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
Revelation 12:17 The dragon makes war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Christ.

Martyrdom

Daniel 11:32-35 Some of God's people to fall to the beast power in the end time, though preaching God's word before they fall.
Matthew 10:21,28,38-39
Matthew 24:9 They will deliver you up to persecution and kill you.
Mark 8:34-38
Luke 9:23-26 Carry your cross; don't seek to save your life, but be willing to lose it.
Luke 11:47-51 Jesus said the lawyers were guilty of the blood of the righteous prophets who were killed.
Luke 14:26-27 Hate your family and your own life.
John 16:2
Acts 7:1-60 Stephen was martyred by the religious leaders.
Revelation 2:10 The church in Smyrna was told, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
Revelation 6:9-11 Fifth seal is martyrdom of the saints.
Revelation 12:11 God's people overcome Satan, even if it means staying faithful to God unto death.
Revelation 18:24 Babylon kills God's righteous people, as well us other people of the earth.

We Must Be Willing to Sacrifice Everything

Luke 14:26-33 We have to bear our own cross, to be Christ's disciples. Count the cost.

Luck

Ecclesiastes 3:6; 7:13-15; 9:11-12 Sometimes we are unlucky in life, and we just have to do the best we can in adverse circumstances. Still learn to trust in God who created a certain amount of adversity and unfairness as the facts of life.
Luke 13:1-5 Christ talked about men killed by falling tower of Siloam. They weren't worse sinners to deserve that fate.

Satan

Job 1:12; 2:6-7 Consider Satan's hand in Job's suffering. God gave him permission to harass Job, within limits. Satan had the power to do so when permitted.
Job 1:10 Satan thinks that the only reason we could love God is due to blessings we hope to get.
Job 1:11 Satan hopes that through trials he may incite us to curse God.
Matthew 12:22 A demon made a man blind and mute.
Matthew 17:15-18 A demon caused epilepsy or something like it.
Mark 5:1-20 Legion, man possessed by demons in the country of the Gadarenes. He had super-human strength. He was tormented mentally.
Luke 8:2 Mary Magdalene who had 7 demons.
Luke 13:11,16 Woman's suffering of physical deformity caused by Satan.
Acts 19:13-16 An evil spirit caused a person to attack some Jewish exorcists.
2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul's trial from "a messenger of Satan".
1 Peter 5:8
Revelation 12:9,12,17; 16:14 Satan has certain power, and great motivation, to cause trouble for the people of the earth and the church.

Sins of Others

When someone sins, innocent people are likely to suffer.

Exodus 11:4-10; 12:29-30 The firstborn of Egypt died, in many cases not because of their own sins, but the sins of Pharaoh. Their families suffered the loss of their sons.
1 Samuel 31:2; 1 Chronicles 10:2 Jonathan seems to have died because of his father's sin.
2 Samuel 12:15-23 The child of David and Bathsheba died because of David's sin.
Habakkuk 1:13-17 The wicked devour someone more righteous than themselves.

Natural Consequences of Sin

Deuteronomy 30:19 Choice to obey or not carries consequences.
Proverbs 1:22-33
Hosea 10:12-13
Romans 6:21
Galatians 6:7 Reap what you sow.

Human Free Will

Deuteronomy 30:19 God has given humans free will, together with a command to obey Him. Part of this is that humans receive the consequences of their actions. Not only that, but people receive the consequences of others' sinful actions. When humans do right, everyone enjoys the benefits of it. When people do evil, we naturally suffer the consequences.

We could have a world without evil, if God removed our free will. We would be mere puppets.

If we are forced, then we can't really have love. If it's forced, it's not love.

Trial Of Battling Our Own Human Nature

Hebrews 2:17-18
Hebrews 12
James 1:12-15

God's Judgment on Sin

Genesis 3:14-19 Curses due to Adam & Eve's sin.
Exodus 15:26 God had sent diseases on the Egyptians, and promised the Israelites He would spare them if they obeyed Him.
Leviticus 26:14-39 Curses on disobedience.
Deuteronomy 28:15-68 Curses on disobedience.
Deuteronomy 31:16-18,26-29 God will withold blessings to those who do not obey Him—as He warned the Israelites would happen.
Joshua 7:1-13 The Israelites could not defeat their enemies at Ai because God wasn't with them, due to Achan's sin at Jericho. God said "Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed thing from among you."
Judges 2:11-23; 3:8,9,12-15; 4:3; 10:7-10 God's judgment in the time of the judges.
2 Samuel 6:1-9; 1 Chronicles 13 God struck Uzza for touching the ark, even though his sin was in ignorance. David was angry at God. But they had neglected to be diligent to study God's law about the most holy things pertaining to the Tabernacle and the ark of the covenant. They should have had the Levites carry the ark, not transport it by ox cart. 1 Chronicles 15:1-28
2 Samuel 12:10-14 God afflicted David with various trials due to his sin with Bathsheba.
1 Kings 8:33-40 Solomon's temple dedication prayer: asking God to forgive when people repent, after He has punished them for their sins.
2 Kings 15:5; 2 Chronicles 26:16-23 God struck Azariah/Uzziah with leprosy when he trespassed the temple in his pride.
Job 33:15-30 God punishes and humbles.
Job 37:9-13 Weather events for correction.
Psalm 39:7-11 David recognised God's chastisement of him with trials. God "uses rebukes to correct a man for iniquity."
Psalm 78:34-35 Trials may turn people back to God.
Psalm 107:10-34
Proverbs 3:11-12 Whom God loves He chastens. Quoted by Hebrews 12:5-6.
Proverbs 19:29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And beatings for the backs of fools.
Proverbs 20:30 Punishment can turn us away from doing evil.
Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
Isaiah 1:19-20 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”...
Isaiah 26:16 God's chastening can turn people back to God.
Isaiah 30:20 God gives the "bread of adversity and the water of affliction".
Isaiah 38:16-17 Hezekiah: Through suffering which is for our own good, God delivers us from destruction due to our sins.
Isaiah 59:1-2 Due to iniquities, God won't hear people's prayers.
Isaiah 64:5-12 God punishes sin. Plea for mercy.
Jeremiah 5:22-25 God witholds blessings from people of iniquity, who don't respect God.
Jeremiah 10:24 We hope for God to correct us justly, but not in anger.
Jeremiah 17:5-6,10-11; 32:19 God judges people and gives them what they deserve according to their ways.
Jeremiah 32:16-25 Because of disobedience, God brought calamity on Judah.
Lamentations 1:18 The Lord is righteous, For I rebelled against His commandment.
Lamentations 3:37-39 Don't complain when God punishes for sins.
Ezekiel 9:4-10 God commanded angels to kill many in Jerusalem, because their iniquity was very great.
Ezekiel 39:23 God sent Israel into captivity because they were unfaithful.
Hosea 5:15 “I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
Micah 7:8-9,13 I will bear the indignation of the Lord, Because I have sinned against Him...
Malachi 2:10-12 God would not respect an offering brought by people who marry pagans.
Malachi 2:13-16 God would not respect an offering brought by people who divorce their spouse.
Luke 13:1-5 Though people may suffer now what seems to be divine retribution, the just judgement of God is at a future time.
Luke 19:41-44 Jerusalem didn't recognise their Messiah, and suffered punishment as a consequence.
John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
Romans 3:5-8 ...Is God unjust who inflicts wrath?... Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?...
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep... When we are judged, we are chastened by God so we aren't condemned with the world.
Ephesians 5:3-7 Wrath of God on sin.
Hebrews 12:3-11 Whom God loves He chastens (quotes Proverbs 3:11-12).
Revelation 3:19 God chastens those whom He loves, so that we may repent. His motivation is from love.

God Chastens Us as His Children

Deuteronomy 8:5 God chastens us as a father chastens his son.
Psalm 39:7-11 ... with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth...
Psalm 103:1-10 He will not be angry with us forever. He is merciful.
Psalm 118:18 God has chastened me severely, but not to death.
Psalm 141:5 God our righteous judge may strike us, but for our good.
Proverbs 3:11-12 Do not despise the chastening of the Lord.
Proverbs 27:6; 28:23 God rebukes us as someone who loves us.
Jeremiah 10:24 God will correct us, but not in His anger.
Lamentations 3:28-33
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep... When we are judged, we are chastened by God so we aren't condemned with the world.
Hebrews 12:3-11 Whom God loves He chastens (quotes Proverbs 3:11-12).
Revelation 3:19 As many as God loves, He rebukes and chastens. Therefore, be zealous and repent.

God Witholds Help to Those Who Don't Want Him

Judges 2:11-23 Cycle of sin, punishment, crying out, deliverance in the days of the judges. V.18 God was moved to pity for them.
Psalm 81:8-16 God was eager to give Israel help and blessings, but they didn't want it.
Proverbs 1:24-33 (personifying wisdom) Wisdom will laugh when calamity comes on those who didn't want wisdom.
Hosea 11 God's love for His people who don't want to know Him. He doesn't want to punish, because He is God, not some vindictive man.
Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:34-34 Jesus wanted to gather Jerusalem as chicks under His wing, but they weren't willing.
Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:15-24 Parable of wedding feast.

God Sometimes "Tests" or Purifies Us With Trials

Genesis 22:1-18 God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, as a difficult test of his obedience.
Genesis 32:24-32 Jacob wrestling with God.
Exodus 18:8 Israel's hardships and God's deliverance.
Leviticus 26:40-45 Repentance.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 "...God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you... make you know that man shall not live by bread alone..."
Deuteronomy 8:16 "...that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end..."
Judges 2:20-23; 3:4 God left Canaanites in the land of Israel, because the Israelites weren't diligent to drive them out and obey God. So God used the Canaanites to test Israel's obedience.
2 Chronicles 32:31 God withdrew from Hezekiah to test him and see all that was in his heart.
Psalm 11:4-5; 139:1-2,23-24 God tests the righteous.
Psalm 66:10-12
Psalm 119:67,71,75
Proverbs 17:3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests the hearts.
Isaiah 1:25 I will turn My hand against you. and thoroughly purge away your dross, And take away all your alloy.
Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
Jeremiah 9:7 Behold, I will refine them and try them...
Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”
Ezekiel 22:18-22 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a furnace; they have become dross from silver... As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you...”
Daniel 11:35; 12:10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined.
Zechariah 13:8-9 “I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”
Malachi 3:1-3 God is like a refiner of silver.
Matthew 7:24-27 The storms of life will come. The one who heeds Christ's words will be able to weather the storms.
Mark 9:49 everyone seasoned with fire
John 15:2 God "prunes" us, so we can bear more fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 Our works will be tested by the fire.
1 Peter 1:6-7 Genuineness of our faith tested by fire.
1 Peter 4:1-2 Christ suffered for us in the flesh; he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
1 Peter 4:12 "...fiery trial which is to try you..."
Revelation 2:10 Jesus said the church of Smyrna was about to be tested with a trial of imprisonment, but don't fear, be faithful until death.
Revelation 3:10 To the church in Philadelphia: because you have kept my command to persevere, I will keep you from the hour of testing which will come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

Don't Test God

We should know God's loving character, power and wisdom, sufficiently to be able to have faith that He will give us what's best in the long run.

Matthew 4:7
Exodus 17:2,7 They tested the Lord, saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?"
Numbers 14:22 The Israelites put God to the test 10 times, and didn't heed God's voice.
Deuteronomy 6:16
Psalm 78:18-22,41-43,56 The Israelites should have been able to trust God on the basis of the saving power they had witnessed (plagues on Egypt, crossing the Red Sea).
Psalm 95:7-10 "They tried me, though they saw My work... they do not know My ways."
Psalm 106:14

Faith

Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus with disciples on a boat, in a storm: "Oh you of little faith".
Mark 5:21-23,35-42 Faith of a parent on behalf of the child.
Mark 6:5-6 Jesus could not do many miracles in His own country (Nazareth) due to their unbelief.
Hebrews 10:22-23 "Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering [in the face of trials], for He who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 11:13-16,23-27,35-40 Faith enables God's people to endure trials.

Sometimes/Often God Doesn't Heal

Psalm 10:1
Psalm 13:1
Psalm 44:22-26
Psalm 77:7-9
Psalm 88:1-18 A psalm that expresses despair without any resolution.
Luke 4:25-27 Elijah only went to Zarephath in Sidon, and no-one else. Of all lepers, Elisha only healed Naaman the Syrian.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh, which God told him He wouldn't heal. (Gal 4:15; 6:11 Possibly eyesight problem.)
2 Timothy 4:20 Paul left Trophimus sick in Miletus.

Sometimes Righteous People Suffer

See Persecution and Martyrdom.

1 Samuel 31:2; 2 Samuel 1:4,12 Jonathan son of Saul died along with Saul and two brothers, despite Jonathan's loyalty to God and to David. It seems he died due to Saul's sin.
1 Kings 14:13 Abijah child of Jeroboam died, but God reckoned he was the only one of the family with good in him. Thus he would receive a respectful burial unlike the rest of the family of Jeroboam.
Job 9:12-35 Consider Job. He complained that God would put him in such suffering when he was innocent. His friends were wrong to conclude that he must have sinned to cause his suffering.
Consider David on the run from Saul.
Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous (but the Lord delivers him out of them all).
Psalm 44:17-26 God's people "sheep for the slaughter" but not due to judgement for sins.
Psalm 73 Why do wicked prosper, while righteous suffer?
Ezekiel 21:3-4 Righteous people might get caught up in the judgement on the wicked (despite Genesis 18:23-26). But consider Matthew 10:28-31; Isaiah 57:1-2
Micah 7:2 The faithful man has perished from the earth.
John 9:1-5 A man was blind, but not for his or his parents' sin (John 9:34 Pharisees thought his parents must have sinned). The situation was set up to demonstrate God's power and love.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 11:22-33 Apostle Paul's many trials while serving Jesus in his calling.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh. (Gal 4:15; 6:11 Possibly eyesight problem.)
Philippians 2:25-30 Epaphroditis was sick nearly to death, while serving the brethren.
1 Timothy 5:23 Timothy's "frequent infirmities".
Hebrews 11:13-16,23-27,35-40 People of faith. Some were delivered, some were not.

Sometimes Wicked People Prosper

Psalm 73
Ecclesiastes 8:14

God's Purpose Is Spiritual Growth

Proverbs 13:7 There is... one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.
Matthew 6:11,25-34 "Give us this day our daily bread" — Seek spiritual nourishment, not physical.
Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13 Ask, seek and knock. God desires to give us good things, specifically the Holy Spirit, when we ask.
Romans 5:3-5
2 Corinthians 4:7-18; 6:3-10 Spiritual growth and strength in the midst of human weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 God's strength in the midst of Paul's weakness.
Philippians 3:7-11 Paul suffered loss in many things, but considered it all worthwhile since he gained the most precious thing: salvation and eternal life through faith in Christ.
Philippians 4:11-13 Spiritual provisions despite physical lack.
Hebrews 11:34 ...out of weakness were made strong...
James 2:5 God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom promises.
James 4:3 Receiving good things from God is not about getting pleasures. Don't ask for such things, because we ask amiss.
James 5:1-6 Criticism of rich people who have physical riches but are morally destitute.
Revelation 2:9 (to Smyrna) I know your works, tribulation, and poverty — but you are rich.

God Accomplishes Good In Trials

Genesis 45:5-8; 50:20 God accomplished great good from Joseph's trial. Psalm 105:16-22
Job — God accomplished good in Job's life through a tremendous trial incited by Satan. James 5:11
Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 We learn through death, mourning, sorrow, sadness.
John 9:1-5 A man born blind allowed for God's works to be revealed in his life. It wasn't due to his or his parents' sin.
John 11:3-4 Lazarus' death allowed for God to be glorified.
Romans 5:3-5 Glory in tribulations because it produces perseverance, character, hope in the love of God poured out in our hearts.
Romans 8:28 All things work together for good to those who love God.
2 Corinthians 4:7-18 In trials, but learning to live in great hope in God's saving power and promises.
2 Corinthians 4:17 our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh kept him humble and made him depend on God's strength. (Gal 4:15; 6:11 Possibly eyesight problem.)
Philippians 1:12-18 In prison, Paul saw his trial as bearing spiritual fruit and furthering the gospel message.
Hebrews 11:34 ...out of weakness were made strong...
James 1:2-4 Count it a joy to be in trials, knowing trials produce patience, leading to perfection.
1 Peter 1:6 Rejoice in trials, though "...for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials..." Our joy is because it is all for the salvation of our souls.

God's Deliverance Out of Trials

Psalm 34:15-22
Psalm 40:1-2 out of the miry clay.
Psalm 71:20-21
Psalm 118 God is our deliverer.
Isaiah 29:5-8; 54:4-8 God has punished Israel but will deliver and bless in future.
Daniel 3 God delivered Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego.
Daniel 6 God delivered Daniel.
2 Timothy 4:17-18

God Gives Strength in Trials

Psalm 23:3-4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... Your rod and staff comfort me.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 God has called the weak of the world, that we should glory in God.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh kept him humble and made him depend on God's strength. (Gal 4:15; 6:11 Possibly eyesight problem.)
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Trials Teach Us to Depend On God

Exodus 17:8-13 God gave Israel victory, while Moses struggled to hold up a stick. Aaron and Hur had to help him.
Psalm 23:4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...
Psalm 27 David's trust and reliance in God.
Psalm 37 Ultimately the righteous will be rewarded, and the wicked punished. But that is long-term, while we have to wait on God in this life. Leave it to God to sort out.
Psalm 61:1-2 ...When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
2 Corinthians 1:9-10
2 Corinthians 11:23-30 Apostle Paul suffered many trials for Christ, and depended on God for strength in his weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 God's word to Paul in his trial: God's strength is made perfect in human weakness. Rely on strength from God.

Patience, Perseverance and Endurance

Sometimes God makes us wait a long time before delivering us from a trial. Sometimes things seem to get worse, before they get better. We may even wait until the next life for resolution.

Genesis 12:1-4; 21:1-7 Abraham and Sarah waited many years for God's promise of a son. From the first promise when he was 75, 'til his son Isaac was born when he was 100. With Ishmael born in between when Abraham was 86 (Genesis 16:1-16), but Ishmael was not the son of promise.
Genesis 32:24-32 Jacob wrestling with God.
Genesis 37:2; 41:1,46; 45:6 Joseph had a long trial being a slave and in prison. 13 year trial, and 22 years away from his father.
Exodus 5; 6:1-9 When Moses first went to Pharaoh, things got worse before they got better. This was very difficult for the Israelites to understand or cope with.
Psalm 13 "How long?"
Psalm 69:3 I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.
Psalm 77 Remembering God's character in the midst of a hard trial.
Lamentations 3:25-33
Matthew 7:24-27 The person who lives by every word of God is able to endure the storms of life.
Matthew 10:22; 24:13 He who endures to the end will be saved.
Matthew 13:20-21; Luke 8:13 The seed that falls on stony ground represents people who can't endure tribulation or persecution.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 We don't sorrow as others who have no hope.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-7
Hebrews 3:6,14 Endure to the end.
Hebrews 10:36 You have need of endurance (in trials).
Hebrews 12:1-2
James 1:2-4 Patience.
James 1:12 Endurance of temptation.
James 5:7-11 Patience and perseverance of the prophets; God's mercy on Job.
NT word study "overcome".

Trials Normal Part of the Human Condition

Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 ...in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other...
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 No temptation has overtaken us except that which is common to man.
2 Corinthians 4:7-18 We have this treasure in earthen vessels.
1 Peter 5:9 Same sort of trials suffered by others.

Trials Due to Old Age

2 Samuel 19:34-37 Barzillai 80 years old, talks to David of his old age.
Job 14:1-2 Like a flower that comes forth and fades.
Psalm 39 The transience of human life.
Psalm 90:9-10 The brevity of human life.
Ecclesiastes 11:8; 12:1-8 Be prepared for old age to have suffering.
Isaiah 46:4 Promise to "carry" us in our old age.
Zechariah 8:4 Even in the Millennium, old people will need a staff to help them get around. This phenomenon of such aged people is seen as a blessing on society.
James 1:9-11 The rich need to remember that their life's pursuits will fade away. That teaches us humility.

Death

Psalm 90 Life is fleeting.
Psalm 116:15 Precious in the eyes of God is the death of his saints.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 There is a time for everything. A time to be born, a time to die...
Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 Better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, and the living will take it to heart.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 ... Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit return to God who gave it.
Isaiah 40:6-8 All humans like grass that withers. Quoted by 1 Peter 1:24-25
Isaiah 57:1-2 God lets the righteous die, to keep them from the world's evil. Eg 2 Chronicles 32:33 (Hezekiah); 2 Kings 22:18-20; 2 Chronicles 34:26-28; 35:24 (Josiah).
Micah 7:2 The faithful man has perished from the earth.
James 1:9-11; 4:13-16 Life is fleeting. We must not boast in ourselves.

The Trial of Living in Ungodly World

As patriarchs and Israelites lived as pilgrims in unfamiliar countries and in the wilderness, so we are pilgrims in a foreign country.
Deuteronomy 2:7; 8:2-6,11-16
God is bringing us to the promised land.
Deuteronomy 2:7-10
Isaiah 57:1-2 God lets the righteous die, to keep them from the world's evil.
1 Peter 4:1-6 It is a trial to resist sin and our human desires, while people around us live by lusts.
2 Peter 2:7-9 Lot tormented by sin around him.

Our Physical Bodies Must Die, for Us to be Resurrected to Glory

Psalm 116:15
Romans 8:10,23-25
1 Corinthians 15:42-44
2 Corinthians 5:1-8

Christ Partook of the Human Condition

John 1:14
Hebrews 2:9-18; 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Christ Suffered, Unjustly

Matthew 26:36-45
Luke 22:28
Luke 23:34 Asked for forgiveness of His persecutors.
Acts 2:23; 3:13-15
Romans 8:32
Philippians 2:5-11 Jesus suffered as a human, being obedient even to death.
Hebrews 2:9-18; 4:14-16; 5:7-9
1 Peter 2:21-25
1 Peter 4:1 Christ suffered for us in the flesh; he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

We May Partake of Christ's Suffering

Luke 14:26-27,33 We have to bear our own cross, to be Christ's disciples.
Romans 8:17 ...if indeed we suffer with Him...
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; ...
Philippians 3:10 Knowing "the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death".
1 Peter 2:20-25 When you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps...
1 Peter 4:12-19 Rejoice to the extent we partake of Christ's sufferings. If you are reproached for the name of Christ...

Examples

Job.
Abraham and Sarah had to wait many years for a child, even after receiving a promise.
Abraham was told to sacrifice his son.
Isaac was blind for several decades.
Jacob running from Esau, tricked by Laban regarding Rachel and Leah, tricked by his sons regarding Joseph.
Joseph in slavery then jail.
Israelites in slavery.
Deuteronomy 26:5-9 Israel's trials and deliverance.
When God started to intervene for the Israelites, at first things got worse for them.
Deuteronomy 2:7 Israelites going through the wilderness.
Ruth and Naomi's blessing emerged out of family sorrow which Naomi characterised as "bitterness".
1 Samuel 19 David on the run from King Saul.
2 Samuel 12:10-14 David and his sin with Bathsheba.
1 Kings 19:1-18 Elijah felt overwhelmed by Jezebel's threats, right after his spectacular showdown with prophets of Baal.
Daniel 3 Shadrak, Meshak and Abed-Nego had their lives on the line after they disobeyed the law to do what was right. There was a 4th man with them in the fiery furnace.
Daniel 6 Daniel had his life on the line when he disobeyed the king's law to do right.
Nehemiah built the temple in difficult circumstances.
Matthew 11:1-6 John the Baptist suffered doubt in his difficult circumstances.
Matthew 14:1-12 John the Baptist beheaded.
John 13:36; 21:18-19; 2 Peter 1:14 Peter would be martyred. Most apostles martyred.
Acts 7 Stephen martyred.
2 Corinthians 11:22-33 Apostle Paul had many trials. Philippians 1:12-18 In prison, he saw his trial as bearing spiritual fruit and furthering the gospel message.
Hebrews 11:32-40 Faith chapter—believers who trusted God in the midst of trials and even death.

Sickness a Metaphor for Spiritual Condition

Psalm 103:3
Isaiah 1:4-7 The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints.
Isaiah 33:24
Hosea 5:13
James 5:13-16 Anointing for physical sickness and spiritual sins.

Pray for Healing for Ourselves & Others

James 5:13-16

Encourage and Empathise

1 Corinthians 1:25-26 We all know we are all weak.
1 Corinthians 12:26 When one member suffers, all the body suffers.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 God comforts us, and we should comfort one another.

Care for Those In Trials

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 Care for the poor among you (there will always be poor).
Luke 16:19-31 Lazarus and the rich man.
1 Corinthians 13:1 Love is greater than remarkable skills.
James 1:27 Pure religion is to visit widows and orphans in their trouble.

Despite Trials, God's Way Is Blessed

Matthew 5:3-12 Blessed are...
Matthew 11:28-30

Despite Trials, We Have Confidence in God

Deuteronomy 31:8 "He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed." Referred to by Hebrews 13:5.
Psalm 9:9-10 Refuge in God.
Psalm 18
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for your rod and your staff they comfort me.
Psalm 77:10-20 Remember God's works and deliverance, and trust Him.
John 14:1-4 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me..."
John 16:33 Though telling us we will have tribulation in this world, Jesus says that in Him we may have peace, because He has overcome the world.
Philippians 4:6-7
1 Thessalonians 4:13 We don't sorrow as others who have no hope.
Hebrews 13:5 "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Reference to Deuteronomy 31:8.

We Are God's Precious Children

Psalm 22:24 He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted.
Psalm 56:8 God takes note of our suffering.
Psalm 116:15 Precious to God is the death of His saints.
Luke 12:6-7 More precious than sparrows. He counts the hairs on our head.

God's Deliverance of His People

Psalm 34:17,19 "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles... Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
Psalm 71:20-21
Isaiah 33:22
Isaiah 64:4 God acts for the one who waits for Him.
Daniel 7:21-27; 12:1-3 End-time deliverance from out of persecution, into eternal glory.
Daniel 12:7 "...when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished."

Future Hope of Glory Without Suffering

Deuteronomy 8:16 "...that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end..." Israelites' destiny of promised land is symbolic of our eternal destiny.
1 Chronicles 17:9 Promise that one day, Israel would no longer be oppressed by "sons of wickedness".
Matthew 5:3-11; Luke 6:20-26 Beatitudes are forward-looking, acknowledging current trials and promising future relief.
Romans 8:18-39 Whole creation awaits the time of deliverance from corruption.
1 Corinthians 15 Resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:19 Our hope is in the next life, not this one.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:1-8
2 Thessalonians 1:7 Rest at Christ's second coming.
Hebrews 4:1-11 Promise of rest for God's people.
Hebrews 11:13-16,39-40
1 Peter 1:3-9
1 John 3:1-3
Revelation 14:13
Revelation 21:1-5

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Comments

Healing

Thank you Craig. This study is so helpful.
James 5:13-16 New King James Version (NKJV)

Meeting Specific Needs
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 [a]Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, [b]fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

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