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Sermon Illustrations: Trials


A farmer planted an orchard in an area surrounded by orchards. One year there was a drought and all the orchards began to die off. Except for his. The other farmers asked him his secret. He said, “When I planted my orchard, there were many times when I did not water them. My trees were forced to push their roots down deeper into the soil to find water. Now they can go without water for a whole month.”

Bradley Harris Wolf, residing in Gladstone - 16 years old, suffers from cerebral palsy and is totally unable to speak, dress, feed or in any way look after himself. He is in fact a highly intelligent person trapped inside a useless body. When he was only very little his father left because he couldn't cope. His grandparents have held down two jobs for years to help pay for his medical expenses. You'd think that if anyone had reason to regret their own birth and the way life had turned out, it would be him. But he doesn't wallow in self-pity and futile regret. In his book Trapped By Silence he describes the way he copes daily with his disability. It took him three painful years to write - by holding something in his hand and, letter by letter, tapping it out on a keyboard. In it, he continually expresses thanks to his family, his friends, and to God for what he describes as his blessed life.

There's no sense in advertising your troubles - there's no market for them.

My Collection of Jokes, Quotes & Anecdotes

Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby.

The Weaver: My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me; I cannot see the colours, He worketh steadily. Oft times He weaveth sorrow and I in foolish pride Forget He sees the upper and I the underside. Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly Will God unfold the canvass and explain the reason why The dark threads were as needful in the Weaver's skilful hand As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.

Billionaire W. Clement Stone during the 1929 Wall Street crash got down on his knees and thanked God he was alive and that he had a family. Then he said, "And then I moved on."

If a butterfly is assisted in emerging from its chrysalis, then it doesn't develop the strength in its wings to be able to fly.

A woman was dying in a poor-house. When the doctor visited her, he found her very bright and happy. "How can you be so happy?" he asked. "That's easy. I just keep thinking about the move into my heavenly mansion."

Bible College lecturer to his students: "In this Bible College you will learn your lesson and then go out and do it. In God's Bible College, you will go through your experience and then learn your lesson."

In January, we joined a gym. Most of the equipment looks like it's been designed by the Marquis de Sade. I started on the leg press machine doing 40kg. I kept working at it till I reached 160kg. I stayed on this weight for about 4-6 weeks then suddenly started to increase again. By the end of May I was leg pressing 200kg. There can be no increase in strength without resistance and opposition.

If you're in a boat off-shore, coming into the beach, sometimes you'll be on the crest of the wave and sometimes you'll be in the trough. You can't always be on the crest, but that doesn't mean you're not heading for the shore.

Faith, being like precious gold, is tested by fire. The gold looks pure until it's heated, then all the impurities come to the surface. How? Heat.

Isaiah 45:3 I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel. "It was the custom for conquerors to hide treasures taken in battle, and not to use them except in cases of necessity."1 The hidden treasures belonged to the conquerors.

When you're mountain climbing, you can rest on the plateaux. But the real progress is made when you face the mountain, tough it out, and head for the peak. Real growth comes in times of testing.

Henry Ford said, "Problems only exist for solutions." Cervantes wrote Don Quixote while in jail. John Bunyon wrote Pilgrim's Progress while in jail. When Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, he was almost completely deaf. It used to amuse him that other people had to shout to talk to him. He said, "A man who has to shout can never tell a lie."

Test of rejection: Paul experienced rejection in numerous cities where he preached the Gospel.

Test of deteriorating circumstances: God promised Moses that he would deliver the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt.

Test of temporary failure: Israelites came out of Egypt only to get stuck between Pharaoh's army and the Red Sea.

Test of fear: God sent Gideon to defeat the Midianites OR the Israelites entering the promised land.

Test of the temptation to sin: Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and then tempted.

Elijah (1 Kings 18:20-19:9), Joseph, David, Peter (Matt 16:16-22) and Jesus faced their greatest trials after their greatest victories.

Imagine a Christian man, persecuted for his faith. His children have been confiscated, his wife raped and murdered, his house looted and burned, he has been fired from his job, beaten, jailed, tortured, and then he dies. Then he gets to heaven. He gets a new body, amazing love, joy inexpressible, perfect peace, and he begins to rule with Christ. 1000 years later - 10,000 years, a million years, a billion years) - and life gets more amazing all the time. His suffering on earth is now but a distant dream. Do you think that he has any regrets? "At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Ps 16:11)

The apostle Paul was one who suffered tremendously for the gospel: shipwrecked three times, stoned, beaten with rods three times, in constant danger, jailed, rejected by his own countrymen, many times of nakedness, hunger, thirst, fasting, fear, destitution, sleeplessness. He said, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18) Now that's a faith perspective!

Burdens: We need the weight of the atmosphere. It is necessary for our bone density. Astronauts lose bone density while in space because of weightlessness.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego found deliverance from their bonds in the fiery furnace.


Fiery trials make glowing Christians. Spurgeon

Poster: Strength and courage aren’t always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles they overcome. The strongest people aren’t always the people who win, they are the people who don’t give up when they lose.

Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. William Hazlitt

For a hundred men who can stand adversity only one can stand prosperity. William Barclay

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King Jr.

Faith is giving glory to God in your valley - anyone can do it on the high. Shaun Hansen

God has never promised that your life will be storm free, but He has promised it will be storm proof.

If you can't handle the heat, you'd better get out of the kitchen. Harry Truman

When the world knocks you down to your knees, it's the perfect place to pray. Alan Beardall.

Problems only exist for solutions. Henry Ford

You will experience problems if you are a threat to the devil. James deMelo

We've got to quit nursing our problems, rehearsing our problems, and cursing our problems, and start dispersing our problems to God so He can reverse our problems. Marilyn Hickey as quoted by James deMelo

All sunshine makes a desert. Arab proverb

Super heroes are only shown as super heroes when they find themselves in super challenging situations and have to call upon super powers to overcome the super difficulties. Otherwise they just look like ordinary folks. Joan Petch

There is a theology of suffering from Genesis to Revelation that is profound and primary. Brian Andrew.

God always sends you into the wilderness to shape your spirit, and then He pours out blessing. Ng Thong.

1 Dake's Annotated Reference Bible p 715

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Please note that all Scripture quotations, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New King James Version ®.
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