Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles 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. (James 1:2-4)
I don’t know about you, but trouble doesn’t seem to me like much of an opportunity for happiness. Trouble is something I try to avoid if at all possible. Yet, the Bible tells us that even trouble has a divine purpose.
Many of you are familiar with Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”As I have often told you before, I will tell you once again: The Bible doesn’t say that all things are good. The Bible says that God is able to use all things(both the good and the bad)to accomplish something good.
There are at least two ways God can accomplish something good through the difficulties in our life. We will examine the first today and the second one tomorrow.
1) God Uses Trouble to Test Our Faith
Many years ago, before I became a pastor, I was a part of Quality Control in a company. If you have ever been involved in such a process, you know that quality is often determined by testing the product to a point that is beyond the capability that is advertised. For instance, a rope advertised to pull 1,000 lbs. is forced to pull a weight that exceeds 1,000 lbs.
I once read that “a trial is not a trial unless it makes you want to quit.” (Paul Freed, founder of Trans World Radio) How far will God test us? God will sometimes test us to the point of where we are tempted to quit. The Bible contains many examples of people whose faith was tested this way. Job is a perfect example, but so was our Savior. Perhaps you will remember that hours before His crucifixion Jesus prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.”But in that moment of extreme testing Christ’s real character came out and then He said, “nevertheless, not My will, but Thy will be done.”
Are you currently going through a difficulty? I wish that I could rush in and rescue you from it, but the truth is, you may be exactly where the Lord wants you. Through this trial, God may be testing your faith in order to help you determine what it is that you really believe. That may sound cruel to you, but as we will see tomorrow, it is actually for our benefit.
So, what should we do in times of trials? The first thing we should do is go to God and ask Him for His help. Most of our prayers will no doubt begin as ‘if it be possible, remove this trial from me.’, But by God’s strength and power, we will eventually be able to pray ‘nevertheless, not my will, but Thy will be done.’
God bless you my brethren.