Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
A familiar passage of Scripture greets us today. It seems that we all have enough troubles on every side, don’t we? As I think about the depth and severity of the “various trials” we encounter it is very easy to become depressed and morose.
Our world is in trouble financially and in an even greater crisis our world is in trouble spiritually. Our country is also dangling on the edge of disaster with our economy crumbling, and the threat of socialism becoming more of a reality with the government now owning what used to be private enterprise. Add to this far left liberal politicians and I would say we have a major catastrophe waiting in the wings.
What sort of trials will we endure as a nation? Will we lose personal liberties and come under greater persecution from those elements that want to remove “In God We Trust” and “So help me God” from our national language? It could happen, for the forces of evil are mounting a enormous offense against God and His people.
Yet, God is on the throne. God is sovereign, and all that comes to pass will be an unfolding of His plan, determined before the foundations of the world were set in place. These trials will indeed develop perseverance among God’s people. It will help us to see who is of us, and who is not.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.1 John 1:19
This is in reference to those who claimed to be believers, but were really not regenerate. They were speaking lies and heresy regarding the Gospel and Christ. We could also make application to those who, when things get tough and hardships come abandon their faith. These are people with shallow faith and no foundation in biblical truth. It is the stuff of which dangerous, emotional decisions for Christ are made.
Trials are intended to weaken us in our humanity and strengthen us spiritually. Never am I so weak as when all that I count on in life is shaken. When my earthly comforts and pleasures are stricken and threatened, and when I feel as though I am alone.
God is carefully whittling us down during those times of loss when it seems as though the ground were removed from beneath our feet. He does not want us to count on ourselves, or our friends, or any device of mankind. Our great and glorious God is taking us lower and lower to the place where there is nothing other than Him. He removes kings and sets them up (Dan.2:20-22), and gives and takes away(Job 1:21). It is all with a purpose, it is all intentional. There is no other time when I am stripped so naked and so vulnerable.
When I am done “solving” the problem and I throw up my hands to heaven in surrender our God simply rejoices.
Trials are intended to remind us that God keeps us. You have heard me say this before because it bears repeating! Once, I was so distressed at circumstances I was ready to walk away from God. Surely, had He not been keeping me I would have walked away in those hours. I would have walked away from all that I know and believe in my soul to be truth. I had to ask myself, if I walk away from this, from Him what else is there?! I knew there was nothing- but in those hours of black, horrible despair as I wrestled with my circumstances I realized I truly could not walk away from God. I could not because HE would not allow it. I was reminded over and over of this passage:
But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator…And He who formed you…”Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;… “Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you…” Isaiah 43:1-4 (not in context)
It was He who was holding on to me, He who reminded me over and over of His love in spite of how it all appeared to be. He showed much mercy that night for He could have struck me dead for my treasonous heart. He put His overwhelming grace on display as He waited me out and reminded me that though I thought I was leaving, He had never let go.
In this way, trials are to prove to us that once found we cannot be lost, and once bought we will never be given away. We have been bought at great price my friends… Oh the matchless and wonderful grace of God!