I am NOT a drama queen! NO, NOT ME! I try to avoid stress and strain in life. However, sometimes it finds me. We have all had trouble of one sort or another in our lives… God calls them trials.
The Bible is VERY clear about how to handle trials and get through them. And not only get through them… God promises that if we go through a trial HIS way we will not only get through them but come out better and more mature… more complete… than before the trial! What a promise!!!
Doesn’t that make you want to know what God has to say …
To find the truth about handling trials we need to go to the book of James.
James 1:2 says…
“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials”
When people would ask me what I did for a living I would always answer, “I work where 25 people love me all day long”!
I was a first grade teacher! And I loved all my precious little first graders! I really could not believe that I got paid for that job… it was just so much fun!!! After all these years I can still get misty over them!
When my little ones would come up to me crying about something terrible according to their sweet 6 year old minds I would always say… “Don’t cry, in first grade we can fix almost everything”! Together we would work through and “fix” their problem.
Drying their tears and giving them a comforting hug (are teachers still allowed to do that?) I
Drying their tears and giving them a comforting hug (are teachers still allowed to do that?) I would send them on their happy little way. In James, God is
In James 1:2, God tells us that in this life… be very sure of this… we are going to have trouble! That’s just how life is! And troubles and trials will not raise their ugly heads just once. We will have trials in various areas of our life. But these trials and travails can have a very positive outcome for us if we work with God to get through them! God can give trials a purpose. The purpose is often so very hard to see while we are in the middle of a trial. God understands that.
A trial may be sad and upsetting… small and annoying… or huge and life stopping. And God does not mean for us to be joyful about that. God is a God of compassion and mercy and love. He feels our hurts and wants to comfort us!
It is comforting to me to know that I can be sad and frustrated and my feelings can be one raw nerve. So what does God want us to be joyful about?
“knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect, complete lacking nothing.” James 1:3-4
Before I taught first grade, I had a couple years experience teaching fifth grade. I really loved teaching fifth grade too… my greatest thrill was when a child would master a skill that at one point seemed, to them, impossible to understand. I adored those “light bulb” moments!
Part of my job was testing children on what they had learned. The test grade was an indicator… for me and my students and their parents. It told us just how well that child had mastered the skill set being tested.
The trials we face are a test too! They are an indicator. Now here’s THE BIG QUESTION… what do they test?
“knowing that the testing of our FAITH…” Trials in our lives test our faith.
God already knows all about our faith… or lack of it. He knows exactly what we believe and in whom we believe. A trial show US our faith! How we act and react to a trial is a pretty good indicator of what we put our faith in how much faith we have!!!
If you are going through some sort of trial right now, and most of us are in one way or another… what would your faith grade be? This is a grade we should all know!
Here is what else a trial does… “it produces endurance”.
I swim for exercise. Well, actually I take an aquatic aerobics class three times a week. It builds endurance. I have so much more strength and stamina than when I first started. If I miss even a couple classes, I feel like I am back at square one!!!
Trials, if we go through them God’s way, will build faith and endurance in facing the next trial… and facing it God’s way. But each time we face a trial and flounder through it on our own, it weakens us!
The trials in our lives can have two effects on us… they can break us down OR make us complete.
The Greek word “complete” means mature.. perfect. Mature in our faith… perfect as we look more and more like Christ himself!
I think being mature in my faith and more Christ like is a pretty good outcome for trials that we are not going to be able to avoid in life. That is what we can find joy in. NOT the trial… but the outcome God promises us.
There is still more to find joy about, but we will cover that next week.
The teacher in me says, “Let’s review what we have learned so far”!
* We will all go through trials! Know this for a fact!
* The trials will hit us in various area of our lives.
* There IS something joyful that we can count on even in the worst trial.
* God is not saying that we have to be happy about the devastation of a trial… God is a compassionate God!
* A trial is a test that shows US our faith in God. So we need to look at how we react to a trial to get a good indicator of our faith.
*Going through a trial God’s way will build enduring faith and help us endure through the next trial.
*As we endure we become more mature in faith and more Christ like.
There is sooooo much more about trials and getting through them… Next week we will discover God’s plan to get us through a trial! It is very specific and very helpful!
For now, I’m going to give you some homework to do this week.
Read James 1:2-4. Read it every day. Read it 3 times a day. Try to memorize it!
Knowing the WHY of a trial is very valuable!!!
I want you to pass the faith test with flying colors!!!
I won’t be checking your homework though… that’s between you and God!