James writes: “Consider it all joy…when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance…that you may be perfect and complete” (vv. 2-4 NAS). Peter writes: “Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you” (1Pe 4:12 NLT). Trials are the common thread that unites us. When you get through with one, chances are there’s another one coming up the road. That’s why James didn’t say, “if,” but “when you encounter…trials.” Observe: (1) Trials come in various categories. They’re physical, emotional, financial, and relational; it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal. Some are shocking, like the unexpected loss of a loved one; others are more drawn out, like an acrimonious divorce or a prolonged illness. Some play out in public while others take place in your own private hell. Some are due to your own, or other people’s mistakes; others have nothing whatsoever to do with human shortcomings. (2) Trials test our faith. They bring us back to basics and remind us where our priorities should lie. One Bible teacher says, “During…intense trials I go back to…what I really believe…elementals such as prayer and dependence…getting quiet and waiting on God. Trials…force us back to the bedrock of faith upon which our foundation rests, and this becomes a refining and necessary process.” (3) Trials mature us. When we’re suffering there’s a tendency to try to look for the quick way out. Don’t do that. Trials are designed to make us “complete.” By letting them do their work, you end up stronger.
Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 @ 7:07 AM CDT