“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4
No one likes trials but we’re all guaranteed to experience them. 1 Peter 4:12 says” Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” In my experience, there are three different scenarios for why we go through them:
- A consequence of sin
- A test of faith
- To teach us something or to develop a particular characteristic
God is a loving Father but He will discipline us when we need it. Proverbs 3:12 says “for the Lord reproves him who he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” It is out of love that God disciplines us. He will always forgive us, if we ask for forgiveness but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to handle the consequences.
The second reason we experience trials is to test our faith. If life was perfect, we wouldn’t need to have faith. We wouldn’t need to rely on God or to understand our own limitations. Trials help us to grow and become stronger in our faith. James 1:12 says: “Blessed in the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.” God blesses those who remain rooted in faith despite the circumstances of life. It’s easy to say you believe in God when nothing is going wrong but you discover the depth of your faith through life’s storms. In 1 Peter 1:7, Peter says: “so that the tested of genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes through it is test by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Trials purify our faith.
The third reason for trials is to teach us something or to develop (or strengthen) a particular characteristic. This sums up the trials I experienced beginning last April. I became a temporary caregiver for a family member and really learned what it meant to have a servant’s heart and to serve others. God wants us to grow more like Christ and the best way to learn is to experience something that needs that characteristic. For example, if you need to develop patience, God is going to put you in situations that test your patience.
So how do you handle trials? Are you a Jonah or a David? I used to be like a Jonah and would try to run away from my problems, only to be dragged back kicking and screaming. LOL. I was like a two year old throwing a tantrum. David fighting Goliath is the role model in how to respond to trials. David faced the trial with confidence that God would see him through it.
We should pray, study the word, seek Godly counsel from your mentor and Godly friends. Seek the Lord and ask him what purpose the trial has: if it’s an unconfessed sin or if it’s a test of faith or if it’s something He’s trying to teach us. He tells us to give faith. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says that we should “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Our circumstances shouldn’t dictate our faithfulness; so give thanks no matter what’s going on. It’s not always easy depending on what you’re going through but it’s a good habit to get into. I have found that an attitude change significantly impacts the trial when I’m not acting like Jonah.
How do you respond to trials? We love hearing from you! ❤