5 Reasons Trials Come -- Or, When Cockroaches Steal Your Quiet Time

Propped up in bed early one morning, I was reveling in the presence of God as I studied my Bible and prayed. My dog, Winston, was curled up beside me, occasionally sighing deeply, adding his heartfelt doggie amen to my prayers. It was a peaceful and reflective beginning to what promised to be an otherwise busy day.

And then I saw the cockroach.

In my peripheral vision, it crept into view, making its way stealthily up the wall and toward the ceiling. Unlike an ordinary cockroach, which usually testifies to an unclean house, this was a monster cockroach known to residents of South Carolina as a Palmetto Bug. Ordinarily they live outdoors in the pine straw that falls from the many yellow pines that dot our landscape. This one had most likely entered our home under the too-high threshold of our back door.

As soon as I spotted this Volkswagen-sized insect, the peaceful and reflective ambiance of my quiet time fled. The “fight or flight” rush of adrenaline jolted my senses, and I sprang into immediate action.  In my opinion, the only thing worse than seeing a Palmetto Bug and chasing it down is seeing a Palmetto Bug and letting it get away. Knowing that such a monster is lurking somewhere in my bedroom waiting for nightfall is enough to cause insomnia for a week.

I’ll spare you all the gory details of the battle, but suffice it to say that there is one less Palmetto Bug in the world. As my heart rate returned to normal and I flopped back onto the bed in exhausted victory, my eyes fell on my open Bible, which had slid to the floor in the fray.

Man, I thought, here I am, minding my own business, talking to GOD no less, and I’m attacked by a cockroach. Is nothing sacred?

Later that day, after taking a family member home from cancer treatment and on my way to a women’s Bible study, a rock flew up from the interstate and cracked my windshield.

 Wow, I thought, I could see if I was driving home from a bar on my way to rob a convenience store, maybe then I’d deserve a rock through the windshield, but cancer treatment and Bible study? Really?!

Why do we think when we’re doing good things that we should be immune from difficulty?

Maybe because we look at hardships as punishment.

The New Testament gives several reasons for trials. Only one of them, sickness caused by sin as explained in James 5:14-15, points to our trials as punishment. Even in this instance, the purpose of the sickness is to reveal sin and draw the sinner back into a right relationship with God.

There are, however, several non-punishment reasons for trials:

1.  Trials come because we live in a sinful, broken world. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).

2.  Trials demonstrate the validity of our faith.  “These (trials) have come so that your faith-- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-- may be proved genuine. . .“ (1 Peter 1:7a).

3.  Trials perfect and mature us.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

4.  Trials, and our right response to them, help us earn eternal rewards. “These (trials) . . .  may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7b). 

5.  Trials help us identify with Christ’s sufferings, knowing him more fully. “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12).  

Palmetto Bugs and rocks are small trials compared to some of the intense faith challenges many of you may be facing today. Small or large, though, I pray you will invite Christ into your trial, respond in faith and courage, and trust God to do a mighty work in and through it as you seek to honor him.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

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  1. I loved this! You had me laughing from the start! And it is oh so true! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Faith,
    SO GLAD I made you laugh today. What a treasure. Just picturing it made ME smile, and so the gift goes on. . . thanks for sharing, and y'all come back now, y'hear?

  3. Such a good devotion, Lori. You had me at the cockroach, but it was all great. Yes, when will I quit thinking things should go well if I'm serving God. Like thinking I shouldn't fall and pull my pcl because I'm getting out of the way of a baby stroller right before I return to Budapest to do Christian work. Actually, I've taken this one pretty good, but I'm often perplexed by adversity. Thanks for sharing this and for linking up to B&BB. I pray your week be pleasantly cockroach free!

  4. Anonymous7:25 AM

    I saw the picture of the cockroach on the OYHT Link and I had to click on it. Oh my stars she is HUGE! I don't think I would have been able to be as brave as you were in hunting it down, they give me the heebie jeebies! This is a great post and a great reminder on what we can learn from the trials in our lives. God bless :)

    1. Diana, it was kill or be killed! The only thing worse than killing a cockroach is missing it and knowing it's still running around somewhere in your house! So glad you stopped by :)

  5. Hi there, visiting from A Pause on the Path. Firstly, let me say that I was cracking up reading the first half. I had to do a search to see what your palmetto bug looks like (I live in the Caribbean) and we have this as well as many other varieties. I have many memories of sitting in my grandmother's house at night (all doors and windows open) and being attacked by flying roaches! They still give me the creeps and are one of the few things that I freak out when I see them (which is pretty often in the rainy season here. Btw, my weapon of choice is window cleaner....I swear it works! Very eco-friendly too ;-)

    As for the second half of your post...thank you for the very timely reminder as I am being refined by trial at this very moment.

    God bless!

    1. Ahhhh, a kindred spirit! From now on, I'll keep a bottle of window spray next to my Bible by my bedside. With those two weapons, I'll be INVINCABLE! thanks for stopping by, Lisa Marie

  6. Stopping by from GraceForThat. I'm living in Madagascar right now. Currently being winter, there is a lull in our cockroach experiences, which I'm very thankful for. I was squirming in my seat reading about your chase. Glad you won though! :)

    1. Wow, I guess vermin are universal! It's been amazing how many can identify with "The Great Buggie Hunt" as we refer to it around here. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Thank you for this post -- it was timely for me this week.

    1. Lyli, I hope your quiet times are more quiet than mine this week! THanks for stopping by :)

  8. Yes! Thank you! This is a well-timed blessing for my day!

  9. I appreciate these thoughts on trials. I have found great peace in knowing that our suffering is felt by the Lord.

    1. You're right, Tereasa, there is great comfort in knowing that nothing is wasted in God's good plan when we yield our will to his in faith. God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!

  10. Amen! Such an important this to learn and remember.

  11. Great post. Though I could not wait to scroll down so that I did not have to see that bug! I have learned that trials are not always about me. In fact, most of the time they are not. I believe that for the most part they are preparing us to pass on the comfort we receive from God to someone else (2 Corinthians 1:4).

  12. Lori...wonderful reminder that trials will come in different forms. Thank you for sharing at WJIM this week. I am featuring your post this week so be sure to check it out. Blessings to you.

  13. Pest can impact daily human processes like that. And they shouldn't. But perhaps these unwanted manifestations may be hints of larger situation, cracks from branches of flaws. It is important to draw a stake at the heart of what is probably an infestation, and to kind of poison their trail and make sure these don't go dotting around the place - or human landscapes, like it owns these :)

    Jeffrey @ Bug Maniacs