Our lives a series of Trials
Every one of us goes through a group of trials on
which his personal evaluation depends and his
position in eternity is decided.
What is important about this is not the type of trial and its duration, but its depth and indication.
John the Baptist for example, his testing period
was short, maybe did not exceed a year or less, but
through it he showed a great success in service, in
humility, self denial, courage, daringness, and
abundance of fruits. And thus, God was satisfied with
this short period of testing and testified that he is the
greatest of those born of women. And took him while
he was around thirty two years old…
It was a short testing period, but it was
The same situation applied to the testing period
of St. Maximous and St. Domadious, who departed to
Paradise in their youths. And the same happened with
St. Missael the Hermit, who reached the hermit level
when he was fifteen years old.
Someone may wonder saying: Why, O Lord, do
you take these pure souls at this early age?! And the
answer is: they passed their trials and the effort they
spent in fighting was sufficient…
And the same happened with testing some of the
martyrs and testifiers…
Their faith and their persistence on it and
suffering for it was tested … Maybe in days or
months. And that was sufficient so they got the
In general, life may be taken as a whole as a
Because some may go through a period of
weakness or of lukewarmness, that does not indicate
the nature of his whole life, and grace may help him
correct his path. And God, may His name be blessed
– does not surprise people with death while they are
in a state of falling, but gives them a chance to
repent… as what happened with St. Augustine, St.
Moses the Black, St. Mariam the Coptic and St.
And so the bible says: “considering the outcome
of their conduct…” (He 13:7).
And the trial that the person takes may be
easy or hard.
Adam and Eve were tested through the
commandment of not eating from one tree. As for our
father Abraham, he took a harder commandment: to
go away from his family and country and his father’s
house (Gn 12) to where he does not know about. So
he went out not knowing where he is going (He
11:8). And so he passed the trial and God blessed
Then he went into a harder trial, which is the
Lord’s saying to him: “Take now your son, your only
son Isaac, whom you love… and offer him there as a
burnt offering on one of the mountains” (Gn 22:2).
And the saint did not hesitate in obeying the order, so
he got more blessings and the Lord saved Isaac.
As for our first parents, as they failed the trial, they
got a punishment from God, they were expelled from
Heaven, and were given the death command, until
they were saved through salvation.
So it is not the type of the trial that is
important, but it is the position the man stands
Whether it was a single trial or many ones.
Joseph the virtuous was tested through the
enmity of his brothers towards him and their selling
him to Ishmaelites (Gn 37:28). He never had hard
feelings towards them, on the contrary, he did good
to them and told them “you meant evil against me;
but God meant it for good” (Gn 50:20). And he was
tested through being a slave in the house of Potiphar.
He never complained, but was fully loyal and
succeeded in gaining trust until he became overseer
of Potiphar’s house…
Joseph was also tested through his master’s wife
seduction to him, he refused it and passed that trial.
He was also tested by being thrown in prison unjustly,
and he did not object. The result was that the prison
keeper left everything in his hands… and the Lord
rewarded Joseph by making him succeed in whatever
he did. And he came out of prison to become the
second man in the kingdom, and became “a father to
Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler
throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Gn 45:8).
There are many types and sources of trials,
some of which come from the envy of devils.
As when Satan envied Job the virtuous who “was
the greatest of all the people of the East”, he was also
perfect and straight in his ways. God permitted the
first plague to be brought upon him; he lost all his
wealth and all his sons yet he passed the trial and
said to the Lord "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath
taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job
Job's second trial was even more difficult as a
plague was brought upon his health, he also lost
everything even his friends' respect to him and his
wife's too…then Job was patient and God blessed him.
God returned everything back to Job and even more,
as the Lord blessed the years which he lived as he
"died, being old and full of days" (Job 42:10-17).
St. James the apostle said about him "Ye have heard
of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the
Lord" (Jas 5:11).
A trial might come from other people's
annoyances or their persecutions.
As the era of martyrdom during which a plague
was brought upon the church in the Romanian rule,
the church endured and passed the trial, God made
the church spread and expand to all parts of the
world giving her talents and ability of working
miracles. God made all that persecution come to an
end and was concluded by the decree of Milan which
was issued by Constantine the King on 313 AD.
Maltreatment is another kind of a trial which
might take place within family members, at work
between superiors and subordinates or any where in
society. In this trial one's qualities are recognized;
how much he can endure and at which point he loses
A trial in general, if a person succeeds
through it; he then is granted crowns.
In God's messages to the seven churches
mentioned in the book of Revelation (Rv 2, 3), we can
see many examples of those crowns which God
prepared them for those who had gotten the victory.
all who win which means all those who succeed in
their trial they will be granted awards in the eternal
life and may be on earth as well, St. Paul the apostle
says " Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge,
shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but
unto all them also that love his appearing" (2 Ti 4:8).
God mentioned a trial in the parable of the
two houses one of which was built on rocks and
the other on sand (Mt 7:24-27).
The trial came upon both kinds (the good and
bad) and it was said "And the rain descended, and the
floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that
house". The house which was built on the rocks didn't
fall but the other house which was built on sand soon
fell and great was the fall of it.
Therefore a person should be ready to face his
trial: through the strong faith, pure heart and
of the Holy Spirit…so that he won't fall but instead
could stand still and might even grow more in the
A trial for a person is for his own good and
for others as well.
During trials a person is tested as regards his own
capabilities and efforts, on the other hand he himself
gets to see the work of God with him hence God's
grace enters his life. This person acquires more
experience in spiritual life than before, experience
about wars of devils, of temptations and also of
winning throughout those temptations.
St. Anthony, in his solitude in the wilderness and with
all temptations he went through, he gained
experience and strength, he even was granted power
over devils. And after his disciple Paul had lived some
time with him, St. Anthony then guided him to start
living in solitude so that he might experience wars of
And so, experiences of the fathers became
lessons for all of us to benefit from as the more we
read biographies of saints the more in depth we
acquire our knowledge. We even learn from the
stories of others who fall into temptations; knowing
the reasons why they fell and consequences which
follow make us more cautious of similar
circumstances and be ready to face them.
A trial might sometimes touch someone's
point of weakness.
As the story of the rich young man who kept the
commandments since his young age, still he got a
point of weakness which was his love to money and
when the Lord tested him saying " If thou wilt be
perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the
poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and
come and follow me" (Mt 19:21). The book says
about him " he went away sorrowful " and failed in
that test "for he had great possessions ".
So, search for your point of weakness and work in
the way of correcting it so that a trial might not be
brought upon you specifically on that point.
Someone might also be tested by sickness or
So that in this trial a person appears if he
complains, if he loses his faith in God's mercies or
instead faces all that with calmness, cheerfulness and
prayers? Does he in his illness gets ready for his
eternity? Or does he during such afflictions says with
Paul the apostle "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing"
(2 Co 6:10).
The person may be tested by having his
prayers not answered, or having them delayed
in being answered.
St. Paul the apostle was tested but his prayers
not being answered when he asked that the throne in
his flesh may be removed from him so that “lest he
should be exalted above measure by the abundance
of the revelations”. So God kept this throne and told
him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is
made perfect in weakness”(2 Co 12: 8, 9)
As for God delaying answering; it is like when God
delayed giving Abraham a son. And the result was
that him resorting to human ways, and took Hagar to
get a son through her…
And the trial may be through power or
There are some people who when they rise in
level through a power they gained, their hearts rise
from inside and they look to others from above and
their treatment to them change!! And thus said St.
Antony that baring honoring is harder than baring
insult… And money and richness are like honoring
too. The poet said:
When my friend became of the people
I realized I lost my friend
Gifts, is another source of testing: does the
heart rise when having them or keep its
An example of that is those who take pride in
talking tongues (If it was real), and consider it a sign
of filling!! Or, as the bible said about Hagar that
“when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress
became despised in her eyes” (Gn 16:4).
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