The Christian life is no different from most lives in that Believers experience the ups and downs that are typical. We get sick, we have conflict with our wives or children and we are certainly not free from seemingly random things that occur. I say seemingly because Scripture tells us nothing is by chance and God has all things under His sovereign control.
I believe this and do not subscribe to health, wealth and prosperity doctrines that are so prevalent today. The one thing I understand is that God has purpose in everything He does. For the Believer this has eternal consequences because the way we respond in trials and tribulations is a very significant part of our testimony.
James 1:17-18 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
The old adage “it’s hard to see the forest for the trees” is applicable to the teaching of James, it’s stated very plainly, yet most often in the moment of trials we don’t want to see what God is doing in our lives because we are in pain at that moment.
We don’t consider it a gift when someone we love is sick or we wonder why God would allow this to happen… What if you are subject to rebuke or church discipline? Do you really consider God is treating you as a son or daughter?
If life or our circumstance is not as “we think it should be” the natural tendency is to be upset and angry. Maybe we won’t say we are angry at God, but the fact is we are exhibiting nothing but discontent.
And discontent is sin! (1 Timothy 6:6-9, Philippians 4:6, Matthew 6:25-34)
The opportunity to glorify God in a time or season of trial is a gift from God. Believer, do you believe this? I know we will agree to this when life is going well. But do you really believe it when you are facing a trial?
James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Let us examine ourselves today. Do you count it all joy? Why not, if not? I hope this is very succinct because I don’t see this as a complicated subject, yet how many that name the name of Christ despise His goodness?
James 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
When Believers and I include myself in this conversation, do not consider trials pure joy we despise the good gift that God has given us. We have our own idea of an outcome and have no desire to allow God, through patience, to work His perfect work in our lives.
Call it what you want, discontent, frustration, anger, circumstance… Or call it what it is; distrust in God’s goodness.
I’m thankful for the trial that has recently come into my life, with our daughter Anna. It has given me an incredible opportunity to learn patience and leadership as I guide my family and my wife through a tough time. I’m being grown up, so that I can minister to others. I can’t lead without having been there myself and although in the grand scheme of life’s trials, this is small in comparison. Each good and perfect gift prepares us for bigger things.
Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Let’s consider the purpose of a trial, for some it may lead to repentance, for some condemnation.
How will you respond? This might show your condition before God.