Lifting our Trials

” Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” (James 1:2, NIV)

What a wacky statement this seems at first glance. It almost seems neurotic to be joyful in the face of trials. If I lost my job, the last thing I would feel is joy. Somehow, James is telling us to consider our trials with joy.

When I experience trials, I often treat the situation as if I was struck with misfortune. I often misplace things around the house. I feel like a man with a horrible curse. I’m sentenced to search for my lost items for life.  Is this the right attitude?

“because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:3-6, NIV)

James is telling us that these trials are for a purpose. It’s not simply bad luck, or misfortune. God has brought these trials so that we may be more mature and complete. I make the mistake of not attempting to defeat the trial. I ignore the trial altogether and consider myself a victim of the consequences. I’m simply someone who has to suffer.
God’s trials are meant to be defeated. William Barclay wrote:

“When Israel came into the Promised Land, God did not remove the people who were already there. He left them so that Israel might be tested in the struggle against them (Judges 2:22; 3:1, 4). The experiences in Israel were tests which went to the making of the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 4:34; 7:19).”

The trials that God gives us are not meant for us to be defeated. They are meant for us to soar and becomes stronger. Like the athlete who lifts weights to become stronger, we lift the weights of our trials to become stronger. As we become stronger, the small trials are more easily defeated and we become more mature.

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