Do you ever read things in The Bible that make you wonder if the writer was nuts? I have!
How about this one? James, the brother of Jesus, said,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds …”
I have never considered any trial pure joy. And “many trials” sounds more like hell than heaven to me. 😳
What good can come from a trial? A trial is a test. Job was tested. Moses, David, Paul and many others were tested. Even Jesus Himself was tested.
When the heat is turned up, we quickly learn that God is God and we are not. We recognize our powerlessness and we see The Great Power of God.
At the end of a trial, we can join Job in saying,
“I know that You can do all things; no Purpose of Yours can be thwarted … my ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You.”
Job 42: 2 and 5
We learn through tests. Tests show us clearly what we are doing wrong. God’s Big X lets us know we need to make a different choice next time.
Tests often reveal to us what we really believe. Opposition prompts us to say out loud what we really believe and to feel the strength of our convictions.
And sometimes saying out loud what we thought we believed exposes the weak parts of us. Sometimes we hear The Truth in another expressing their beliefs. We find we have been wrong.
Besides knowing God is God and learning more about who we are, what possible benefit could there be to multiple trials? James tells us by completing his statement.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
When we begin to walk, our legs are wobbly. We fall down a lot, but each time we get back up and put weight on those wobbly legs again, they become stronger. As we walk more, we become more confident. Soon we are walking without even thinking. And then we run, skip, jump and dance. We find the joy!
Trials are resistance training provided by a Loving God. He does not send us into the world without training us. God wants us to mature and become complete.
My parents suffered many challenges in their life. Yet they were never defeated. Every trial seemed to have made them spiritually stronger.
When my father died, The Lord gave me a beautiful picture of him. In my mind, he started a race in his elderly, weaker condition. Yet at each challenge, he seemed to grow physically stronger.
Finally he was walking upright, faster and faster. And then he was running, shedding his “old self” with every turn. Finally he left the track and he was flying!
How do we handle trials?
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
“Those who hope in The Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”