We may become impatient when a trialsome period seems to have no end. Suppose you are driving a car on a highway and get stuck in traffic. Trying to find another route, you might get lost or end up taking more time to reach your destination than you would had you patiently remained on course. Similarly, if you stick to the paths outlined in God’s Word, in time you will arrive at your destination. Jehovah may hold off from intervening in our trials because he wants us to receive vital training. No, God does not cause trials. “Your adversary, the Devil,” is causing most adversities. Yet, God can use a difficult situation to help us grow spiritually. He sees our suffering, and “because he cares” for us, he will make sure that it will continue only for “a little while.” Do you appreciate Jehovah’s watchful care when you suffer trials, confident that he will provide a way out?
While presently we are not faced with any major roadblocks or unexpected detours, that will not always be the case. Allow me to elaborate. Jehovah’s Witnesses have very specific expectations based upon the assumed correctness of the Governing Body and their interpretation of prophecy. For example, the Watchtower states that the next big event on the calendar is the destruction of Babylon the Great. That is because, according to the Watchtower, virtually everything else in Revelation has already been fulfilled, including the casting down of Satan and the demons and the critical 1,260-day period of persecution and testing. Any of Jehovah’s Witnesses who may express even the slightest doubt about the veracity of that teaching are dealt with by their local elders and subject to harsh penalties.
For instance, an elder could be prevented from giving public talks or even removed from his office of oversight if he does not display total confidence in the Society’s questionable interpretations of prophecy.
But what happens when events do not unfold in the manner in which Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to expect? You have a test of faith and a potential stumbling block.
Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have already been faced with this sort of test, but everyone will be in the near future when Satan is hurled down and the system crashes and the Watchtower collapses.
Referring to the congregation of Christ as a spiritual temple and individual Christians as the builders of it, Paul wrote: “But let each one look out how he builds on it. For nobody can lay any other foundation beside the one that has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. But if one builds onto the foundation gold, silver, fine stones, wood, weed-stalks, straw, each man’s work will show up. For the day will reveal it, because in fire it is disclosed, and the very fire will test what sort of work each man’s is. If anyone’s work that he built on it stands, he will receive payment; if anyone’s work burns up, he will be the loser, but he will himself come safe through, but in such fashion as one comes through a fire.”
What “day” is Paul speaking of that will cause a fire to test each one’s work? The day of Christ, when he comes to inspect his Father’s temple. And for a certainty, the notion that Christ came in 1914 and affected the inspection is part of the “weed-stalks” and “straw” that has been used as building material that will be burned up in the fire.