November 13 I Wednesday
“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.” —James 1:2-3
Whether severe or slight, life is full of trials. It seems we just get over one difficulty and are faced with another. As pessimistic as it sounds, trials are continuous in life, many times catching us off guard. But if we look at them from God’s perspective, which is what James writes about, we will find pessimism turn into optimism and optimism produce something desirous in which we are no longer threatened or burdened by trials, but view them as God at work in our lives.
James writes that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. In other words, trials are prosperous. They are producing something. Many people fear trials will destroy their faith, but if we remain steadfast in Christ, we will discover in actuality, the reverse is true. Our trials allow us to have the opportunity to trust and experience God in ways we never will when the sun is shining and the sky is blue. James writes, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). Trials build us into something better and stronger, not only for our benefit, but for those around us who see our trust in God as our rock in times of trials.
Andrew Murray, a South African pastor and a great writer in the 19th century, wrote what he called his formula for trials. The language is a little more current, but what he says is this: Firstly, when in trouble say, “God brought me here. It is by His will I am in this trial and in fact, I will rest.” Secondly, “God will keep me here in His love and give me grace to behave as His child.” Thirdly, “God will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends for me to learn.” Fourthly, “In His good time, God will bring me through them; how and when only He knows.”
To summarize, we are here by God’s appointment, in His keeping, under His training and in His timing. James says to consider it pure joy when we face trials. We do not go looking for them, but understand when we do face them, they can be prosperous and even desirous. May we embrace trials with a joyous realization that God is at work in our lives.
Prayer: Dear Lord God, help me to be completely trusting of You in my trials. Keep me focused on You and the work You are doing in my life. Thank You, Lord.