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)
God allows trouble to come into our lives for at least two reasons:
1) God Uses Trouble to Test Our Faith
2) God Uses Trouble to Develop Our Faith
Consider the testimony of the Apostle Paul.
I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
No one knows for sure what Paul’s thorn was. Some think that it was physical while others believe that it was emotional. Whatever it was, Paul repeatedly begged the Lord to remove it. Yet, each time the Lord’s answer came back as – “My grace is all you need.”
Apparently, Paul refused to accept God’s answer at first and that’s why he kept praying. But somewhere during his third time of prayer, the Lord was finally able to break through and reassure Paul that His grace was sufficient. Maybe it took the first two times of prayer and experiencing God’s grace for Paul to finally realize that God’s grace was all he needed.
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
James tells us – “…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.”
Everyone wants to be a stronger Christian, yet few are willing to let God develop their faith. We think that faith and spiritual endurance are things God should automatically pour into our spirit. Yet apparently, He can’t. Apparently, God has to test our faith in order to develop our faith.
In closing, let me try to explain to us how this works. Let’s suppose someone experiences a difficulty. Because their faith in God is small, the difficulty may seem to be insurmountable. Forced to pray, they cry out to God for help and deliverance. God responds to their prayer and helps them. As a result, this individual has learned that God can handle minor things. But then, something bigger comes along and again this process must be repeated. And then something even greater happens and again they must experience the process. “How long will this process go on?” some might ask, “How far will the Lord take us?”The Bible says that God will continue to work in our lives until He conforms us to the image of His Son.
So, don’t give up. Instead, look up and draw your strength from Christ. During a difficult time in his life, the Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
God bless you my brethren.