I am NOT a drama queen! NO, NOT ME! I try to avoid stress and stain 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. Today let’s talk about getting through tough times God’s way!
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 about how to handle the trial big or small in your life right now!
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”
Wait, what! SERIOUSLY!
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 would send them on their happy little way!
In James, God is saying that in this life, AND 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 all through our lives.
But these trials and travails can have a very positive outcome on 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.
Listen, friend! God does not mean for us to be joyful about our sorrow or pain. God is a God of compassion and mercy and love. He feels our hurts and wants to comfort us!
But we need to see and have joy in is…
“knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, And let endurance have it’s 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 seeing a child master a skill that at one point seemed impossible for them 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 each child had mastered the skill set being tested.
The trials we face are tests too! They are indicators. They show us something so important!
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. There is no surprise for Him! He knows exactly what we believe and in whom we believe.
So the trials we continually go through show US our faith!
How we act and react to a trial gives us a pretty good indicator of just what our faith is in and how much faith we have!!!
Are you are going through some sort of trial right now? 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.
We need to trust God and continually look to Him for the right path to take in our trial not wavering to one side or another.
And if we pray, pray, pray, and ask for His wisdom and prudence (moral fortitude, insight, and understanding) we will build up our “faith muscle”.
Trials also builds a history of how God has worked in ourlives so we can look back on our trials and the trust God more!
There is a flip side to a trial too!
Each time we face a trial and flounder through it on our own, it weakens our faith! This is not what God wants for us! No, not at all!
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 or 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!
Knowing as we go through a trial we will be more mature and Christ-like is where we can find joy.
Joy is not found in 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! Trials will hit us in various areas 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 so much more to know 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, again the teacher in me.
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!
The bible says…
The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe. Pro 18:10
Here is a beautiful printable suitable for framing with the names of the LORD and their meanings…