What is a trial?
Dictionary definition: Subjection of a person or thing to a test, to determine something in question; a test of one’s virtue or faith, or patience, by affliction or temptation; process of trying or testing; proving, to check, examination; trouble, hardships.
Concordance - to test, prove or examine. A putting to proof, through adversity, temptation, a testing.
Psalm 139: 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
A trial is anything of any size that tests your faith in God.
It’s anything that puts your faith to the test by making you come face to face with what you believe about God and His sovereignty, power, faithfulness, love etc. And then you must choose between doubt or believing. We make our choices based on what we believe about God. God faithfully bring us into situations that are designed to stretch our faith, otherwise our faith would stagnate. Making the right choice increases your faith. We might doubt and be afraid, but faith is forged through doubt. When in doubt, trust and obey and your faith will grow!
According to scripture trials come with a purpose... notice the intent of trials in the following verses...
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
1 Peter 1: 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in ALL KINDS of trials. 7These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
2 Corinthians 4:16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 1: 8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia . We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
Romans 5: 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
The Word shows us that God uses trials to test and increase your faith. And as God gives you insight to understand the incalculable value of faith you will begin to understand why God tells us to, “Count it pure, joy for trials.”
There is nothing more beneficial in the producing of faith than trials because trials expose doubt more than the good times. Therefore since the most glorious thing in the life of a believer (after salvation) is to have their faith increased, then trials are to be counted as pure joy.
But this is only possible for those who desire their faith to grow and it is only possible for us to desire this because God has placed the Holy Spirit in us.
The Refiner's Fire Story
Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse.
"And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
One lady's opinion was that it was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject. She went accordingly and without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her.
"But Sir," she said, "do you sit while the work of refining is going on?" "Oh, yes madam, " replied the silversmith, "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."
The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression,
"He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace. His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random; "the very hairs of your head are all numbered."
As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had still further to mention, that he only knows when the process of purifying was complete, by seeing his own image reflected in the silver.
(all of the above from Tami Rutledge)