(Actually, um, never mind…forget I asked)
James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
These verses are packed full of wisdom and mature living advice. But considering trials as joy? That’s easier said than done! While we may have quoted these verses with enthusiasm as young Christians, the reality of broken relationships, struggles with finances and daily provision, failures in self-control, realization that bad things happen to “good” people all the time does make us rethink God’s view on trials.
Two lessons I’ve learned so far about this area:
1.) I will never look forward to trials and difficulties.
The longer I live, the more I despise them. I am tired of seeing suffering. The world is full of injustice and abuse and they will always be horrible. Death sucks – no other way to say it. Death wasn’t in God’s original plan and it will always be foreign and horrible. There’s way too much heartache, unfulfilled longing, sorrow, disappointment, fear and pain. I really don’t think God ever asks us to be OK with all these terrible consequences of sin. He hates injustice more than we do. He originally made our world full of peace, fulfillment and goodness. What it is now has to break his heart.
2.) Knowing God is better than anything.
There really is nothing better than learning to live as God’s child, friend and lover. Nothing. We limit ourselves by keeping a distance from God. He made us to be absolutely know, loved, and satisfied in him. So, I trust that my life is all about how to know him better, love him more, fight him less, accept his love, obey him more, become more infatuated and madly in love with him. And since this is true, my first concern gets usurped by this wonderful fact. I trust God. He is good and his plan for me is good too. Some days are horrible and heartbreaking and I feel I can’t survive them.
But God is with me so my life is good. He is my constant companion in good and bad. He will never leave or forsake me. No one could love me more or protect me better. So I will boldly agree with Hebrews 13:6.
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Difficulty will never separate me from God. It can draw me closer to him. So I will not fear trials nor will they be my life’s biggest worry. God is in control and he wins. One day things will be put right, evil will be gone and all we’ve suffered will not compare to eternal life with God.