John Piper has made famous the life motto among Christians of “Don’t waste your life”. His point was to use our temporary earthly life to live for God’s purposes and God’s Kingdom—something which he himself customised to “Don’t waste your cancer” when cancer became the trial of his family. God has made all things, the blessings and the trials, for the purpose of accomplishing much good in those whom He has called to Himself (Rom 8:28). Throughout the lives of many faithful men and women, God has given us examples of how to deal with trials that affect us and our families.

In Deuteronomy 6 God calls all parents to use the daily activities of life, and days of trials are certainly ripe for this, to provide their children with a Divine commentary on life (Dt 6:6-7). These are things to establish as habits in times of blessing (context of Dt 6), so when times of testing come, the habits would be deeply rooted. Teach your children how to love and obey God in every activity of every day (Dt 6:7). Demonstrate to them how to do what is right and good all the time (Dt 6:18). Tell them what God has done in your past so they can make sense of the present (Dt 6:20-21). Guide them into the self-preservation wisdom of fearing the Lord (Dt 6:24). Don’t waste your family trial.

Perhaps the most severe family trial ever to befall one family, is that of Job, his wife, and his ten children. While all was well, Job prayed and interceded for his family (Job 1:5), and when all was lost Job would worship recognising that he was born with nothing and would die with nothing, but God is still perfect (Job 1:21-22). Don’t waste your family trial; worship God because of things you might otherwise never have realised.

Another family trial mentioned in the Scriptures is that of the couple who had a child born blind. Many years later, when the child was a grown man, Jesus confirmed that those who had blamed the man for his blindness, and had blamed his parents for his blindness were completely misguided, insensitive, and wrong (John 9:1-2). Instead, Jesus confirmed, as Job already had learned, that all things in life, even the family trials, are a stage on which God’s works are being showcased to the world (John 9:3). Seek to display God’s accomplishments and purposes, and your family trial will not be wasted!