Growing Through Trials
Read James 1:2-4
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
What trials have you encountered lately? How did you react? Looking back, can you see any benefits of that trial in your spiritual life?
When my spouse and I were first married, we did not experience many trials. Everyone talked about how difficult the first year of marriage can be, but for many months, it seemed like we were escaping any form of trouble. We integrated our lives seamlessly. We didn’t argue. They didn’t annoy me. To be honest, I kind of wondered what people were talking about when they said marriage is hard.
But about 9 months in, we found out we were expecting our first baby. And the following week, we suffered a miscarriage. There is nothing quite like the trial of loss to test a relationship. Will the loss bring us closer together or rip us apart? It all depends on how we react.
Thankfully, our marriage stood up to the test. We drew closer to each other, we leaned on the Lord, and our relationship was strengthened. The loss of our baby was not a joy. But through that devastating experience, our marriage and our faith matured. And now we stand stronger, more steadfast as we continue to navigate more trials over the course of our relationship.
Our relationship with God is very similar. When hardships come our way, do we draw closer to Him or lean away from Him? Our faith is being tested. If we endure the test, we grow in perseverance. Endurance produces more endurance. Our faith becomes more steadfast, immovable, and unwavering in the face of whatever trials the future holds.
James says to consider it joy when we go through hard times. We may not love the experience, but we can choose joy in the face of the trial because it is teaching us and growing us. It is even deepening our relationship with our heavenly Father. And if that isn’t a reason for joy, what is?
Lord, trials are so hard. But I know you are using them in my life to draw me closer to you and to strengthen my faith. Please give me the strength to endure the hard times. Amen.