David faced many difficulties and trials over a period of about 13 years through which he finally became a man of God and a successful king.
Years later, he wrote these words: "You have tested me O God. You have refined me as silver is refined. You allowed me to be trapped in nets. You allowed heavy, oppressive burdens to be laid on my back. You allowed men to ride over my head. You took me through the burning fire and then through icy-cold water. But finally, You brought me out into a place of spiritual abundance and anointing, where my cup is now overflowing with blessing to multitudes of people. Praise the Lord" (Psalms 66:10-12 – free paraphrase).
Saul, on the other hand, grew up in a rich home, and went straight from that life of comfort to become a king. He never faced any trials or difficulties. So he never knew God and he was a failure as a king.
Solomon, who came after David, also never faced any trials or difficulties. He grew up in ease and comfort as a prince in the royal palace. He also became a failure as a king.
These examples teach us that it is only through trials and difficulties that we can know God and be effective and successful in our ministry. This was what made Paul such a successful apostle too (Read 2 Cor.1:4-11; 11:23-33). This is why many preachers today, who have become rich by preaching the gospel, and who live in comfort, are neither spiritual themselves, nor godly examples to their flock.
God may have called you to be His servant. But don't imagine that you are ready to serve Him, just because you were called. If you don't go through long periods of trial faithfully, you cannot be a spiritual leader of God's people. You will only end up like Saul and Solomon, and destroy yourself finally. So God will have to first take you through long periods of trial and difficulties. He will allow others to misunderstand you and to be jealous of you. He will allow them to suppress you and to oppress you. If you humble yourself (like David did) and trust God, in all these circumstances, God will bring you forth one day, into a place of abundance and blessing.
He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Purpose of difficulties and trials
Published 20 August 2012 | Zac Poonen | Christian Fellowship Church