My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [trials or testings]; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.—James 1:2–4
Trials Are Common for Believers
Don’t let anyone tell you—and don’t you ever tell anyone—that believers are exempt from tough times in life. There is an element in the broad range of “Christendom” that claims God intends for us to be problem free. Just fly away towards Heaven… they have created their own form of escapism. God never works that way. Note, God says, “When ye fall into…” not if!
When you experience trials and difficult times, you are experiencing the rule, not the exception. If you have just come through a trial, get ready, another is just around the corner. Trials are what pull us together—we all go through them.
Trials Come in Various Sizes
They may be physical, emotional, financial, relational, and even spiritual. They can arrive at any time, always unexpected and uninvited. They may come suddenly like a car accident or natural disaster. They may be prolonged like a lingering illness. Trials can be public in nature or intensely private. They can be related to our own sin, the sin of others, or no sin at all.
Divers temptations are just that—varied trials, almost tailor made to each one of us. What may cause you nothing more than a minor irritation may blow someone else completely out of the water. Do not judge people for their trials or the impact it may be having upon them.
Trials Put Our Faith to the Test
Have you ever noticed how trials have a way of clearing away the debris of our lives and bringing us back to the basics? Trials simplify our lives and bring us back to what is really important. When we face the fires of adversity we seem to find more time to pray, become more focused on the Word of God, and even listen more intently in church. Our family and friends become much more important to us, and the time we spend with them becomes more precious and enriching.
In those quiet times alone with God, as I think on Him and wait on Him, I find myself remembering that He is God, sovereign, in control and that He has not left me—all the important truths that bring me closer to Him. Could it be that God allows those tests to draw me closer to Him?
Without Trials There Would Be No Growth
You see, trials are part of our maturing process. God allows them, even sends them to help us to grow up spiritually, to reach our fullest potential for the Lord.
The tendency for most of us (me included) is to try to cut the trial short. The pain, discomfort, and hardship makes us ready to do anything to cut the trial short. Before long, we end up resenting trials and start looking for a way out, to run from them. Instead, God says, “Stay in there, let them have the full impact on you—you will come out far better for it. Rest in Me, I know what I am doing.”