I’m learning in life that everyone has to deal with trials, troubles, and temptations. When they come our way they seem like insurmountable obstacles that overwhelm us. I say that I’m learning that “everyone has to deal with trials,” because there have been times in my life when I truly felt like I was the only one who had to go through whatever it was that I was going through.
We all go through “stuff,” but we don’t all go through “stuff” in the same way. Some simply close their eyes and hang on for dear life. Others, when confronted by the trials of life, seek to escape through curling up in bed, drugs, alcohol, spending sprees at the mall, etc. I believe with all of my heart, and from my own experiences in life, that these approaches to dealing with trials will inevitably cause us to “waste” our trials. You may be wondering why I would say, “Waste our trials?” Isn’t the goal to simply get through our trials? Nope. Not at all. The trials of life come to us with purpose. If you will remember earlier in James we read,
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)
The trials, the tests of life, come in order to give us opportunities to grow us in our trust in God when everything in our lives is uncertain, they come to give us an opportunity to develop a reliance on God’s strength when we are weak, and they come to give us an opportunity to stand upon His ability when we are vulnerable. If we are simply trying to “get through” the trials of life then we are wasting opportunities to grow. This is why James says in verse 12, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial…” To “persevere” means to “stand strong, to be immovable, to bear up under.” By believing that God’s hand is at work in the trials of life I am strengthened and led to look for what He is trying to teach me instead of simply looking for an easy exit.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will make me immovable in the trials that come my way. Give me eyes to see Your Sovereign hand at work so that I might grow in my trust and reliance upon Your strength and grace.