“No coward soul is mine, No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere: I see Heaven’s glories shine, And faith shines equal, arming me from fear. —Emily Brontë”
The Bible often speaks of the importance of faith in knowing God. For example, Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) teaches, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” First Corinthians 13:13 adds, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” But why do faith and trials seem to go hand in hand?
We all face trials. These trials have the power to either produce a barrier or enable us to grow closer to God. The choice is up to us. Either we will remain anchored to God or lose some of our connection with Him.
James 1:2-4 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” Allow the phrase, “consider it an opportunity for great joy” to settle in for a second. Think about past trials in your life. Think about the trials you may be facing today. Imagine some of the trials that are on the horizon. So what is our first response when trials come our way? It’s hard to imagine “joy” being the initial reaction. Joy is not the emotion that best describes your mindset when you consider your trials, past, present and future.
In most cases, our first instinct is to devise a strategy or method of eliminating the trial completely. The second instinctive response is to run. It can certainly seem like the prudent thing to do. We don’t have the time nor the inclination to deal with trials with all that is going on. But Scripture commands us to count our trials as joy and run at them head-on for the sake of being transformed into a faith-filled, steadfast child of God. God sees trials as a chance to produce character within us, not as a circumstance intended to harm us or derail His plans for our lives.
The greatest gift we’ve been given in the face of trials is faith. When problems are a head wind in our life, it is hard to see any benefit. Seeing the benefit requires faith. We have to believe that the end justifies the means, that God has an outcome as good as the trial is bad.
Hebrews 10:35-38 says, “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith…” That faith is revealed in our trials.
- Some of life’s deepest and most lasting lessons come to us wrapped in pain. Agree or disagree and why?
- What are the two necessary beneficial responses to God’s trials in our lives?