The Signs of the Times


February 5, 1902

Through Trial to Perfect Trust


“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” The refining process is hard for human nature to endure; but only by it can the dross be purged from the character. In the furnace of trial we are purified from the dross that prevents us from reflecting the image of Christ. God measures every trial; He watches the furnace fire that must test every soul. ST February 5, 1902, par. 1

Through trial God leads His children to perfect trust. “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” Christ says; “but in Me ye shall have peace.” It is through much tribulation that we are to enter the kingdom of God. The followers of Christ will often be sorely tried and afflicted. Joseph was maligned and persecuted because he was determined to preserve his virtue and integrity. David, God's chosen messenger, was hunted like a beast of prey by wicked enemies. Daniel was cast into a den of lions because he would not yield his allegiance to God. Jeremiah spoke the word that God gave him, and his plain testimony so enraged the king and the princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit. Stephen was stoned for preaching Christ and Him crucified. Paul was imprisoned, and finally put to death, because he obeyed Christ's command to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. John, the beloved disciple, was banished to the Isle of Patmos for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. ST February 5, 1902, par. 2

No cross, no crown. How can we be strong in the Lord without trial? To have physical strength, we must have exercise. To have strong faith, we must be placed in circumstances where our faith will be tried. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne, gives us a new experience, and advances us in the work of character building. Our Saviour was tried in every way, yet He triumphed in God constantly. It is our privilege under all circumstances to be strong in the strength of God, and to glory in the cross of Christ. ST February 5, 1902, par. 3

Through affliction God reveals to us the plague-spots in our characters, that by His grace we may overcome our faults. Unknown chapters in regard to ourselves are opened to us, and the test comes, whether we will accept the reproof and the counsel of God. When brought into trial, we are not to fret and worry. We should not rebel, or worry ourselves out of the hand of Christ. We are to humble the soul before God. The ways of the Lord are obscure to him who desires to see things in a light pleasing to himself. They appear dark and joyless to our human nature. But God's ways are ways of mercy, and the end is salvation. Elijah knew not what he was doing when in the desert he said that he had had enough of life, and prayed that he might die. The Lord in His mercy did not take him at his word. There was yet a great work for Elijah to do; and when his work was done, he was not to perish in discouragement and solitude in the wilderness. Not for him the descent into the dust of earth, but the ascent in glory, with the convoy of celestial chariots to the throne on high. ST February 5, 1902, par. 4

Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. God “doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” When He permits trials and afflictions, it is for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. If received in faith, the trial that seems so bitter and hard to bear will prove a blessing. The cruel blow that blights the joys of earth will be the means of turning our eyes to heaven. How many there are who would never have known Jesus had not sorrow led them to seek comfort in Him. ST February 5, 1902, par. 5

The trials of life are God's workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace. ST February 5, 1902, par. 6

But when tribulation comes upon us, how many of us are like Jacob. We think it the hand of an enemy; and in the darkness we wrestle blindly until our strength is spent, and we find no comfort or deliverance. To Jacob the divine touch at break of day revealed the One with whom he had been contending,—the Angel of the covenant; and, weeping and helpless, he fell upon the breast of Infinite Love, to receive the blessing for which his soul longed. We also need to learn that trials mean benefit, and not to despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when we are rebuked of Him. ST February 5, 1902, par. 7

“Happy is the man whom God correcteth.... He maketh sore, and bindeth up; He woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.” To every stricken one, Jesus comes with the ministry of healing. The life of bereavement, pain, and suffering may be brightened by precious revealings of His presence. ST February 5, 1902, par. 8

Each fiery trial is God's agent for our refining. Each is fitting us for our work as co-laborers with Him. “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” ST February 5, 1902, par. 9

Mrs. E. G. White