Imagine this: You just left the doctor’s office and you received devastating news about your health. Or you just received an e-mail at work announcing that the company you have worked for the past twenty years will close in three months. Or how about this one; your husband for the past ten years just confessed to an extramarital affair and says he wants a divorce.
These are the kinds of Trials that seem to come from out of nowhere. The King James Version uses the term “fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2). These picturesque words convey the idea of walking along in life and unexpectedly falling into a situation.
If we live long enough, all of us will encounter a trial in life at some time. The question is, how do we navigate such a challenge? How we go about doing that determines how successful we will be.
God is not the one behind our trial. On the other hand, He does not shield us from going through a test. He allows difficult times in our life for a number of reasons.
Being a pastor, I have seen what a trying experience can do to a person’s relationship with God. Some believers become bitter with God because they blame Him for what they are going through.
One of the challenges associated with enduring a test is that it may be something we have never been through before. That means we don’t have a bank of experience we can draw from.
Three Positive Things About Trials
Nevertheless, when a trial comes in your life, it is the will of God that you come out of it better than you entered the test. Drawing from chapter 1 of the epistle of James, here are three important things to bear in mind when we are being tried.
1. “The Testing of Your Faith Produces Endurance” (James 1:3, NASB)
In order to realize endurance, we must be stretched beyond our comfort zone. No runner, for instance, can properly prepare for a marathon by simply doing his usual three-mile run. To build endurance, he must go beyond that comfortable place.
Our faith is tested when we are taken beyond what’s normal or comfortable for us. The benefit is that this stretching helps us to grow in spiritual endurance and tenacity. We will never realize significant growth in those areas by just doing the norm.
2. Enduring a Test Helps to Make You More Complete
James writes, “Let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (verse 4). A key word in this verse is “let” or “allow.” We must allow ourselves to be exercised by the rigor of the test.
The objective is our perfection or completeness. Do you get what the Word of God is saying here? Whenever we find ourselves being tried, God wants us to endure the trial and come out of it better and not bitter.
3. God Will Give You Ample Wisdom for Your Trial
The question is, how do we go through a test and come out of it more complete? Based on the nature of what we are dealing with, we may not know how to do that.
“If any of you lacks Wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach” (verse 5). In prayer, we ask God for lots of things. But how often do we pray for wisdom when we are being tested and don’t know what to do? God promises to grant wisdom generously—if we ask Him.
Trials in this world are inevitable. We don’t have to go looking for them; they will find us, no matter how careful we try to be to avoid them. But God wants to use the trials in your life to make you better and not bitter. He will give you all the wisdom you need to make that happen.
Copyright © 2019 by Frank King. All rights reserved.