What if our faith was never tested? Would we grow?
Consider James 1:2-4 (ESV): “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.”
It would be easy to laugh or scream at the words “count it all joy” when you face a trial – unless we understood the meaning of the rest of the text. Only when our faith is tested (when we’re feeling mistreated or facing some other devastating ordeal) will we experience firsthand God’s power and intervention. And, consequently, find out how strong our faith is.
“But let’s be real,” you say. “Counting it all joy when a loved one faces a terminal illness or when a dream dies simply goes against human reasoning.”
I agree. But we’re not talking about “human reasoning.”
I’m convinced God knows what He’s talking about. (God’s always pleased whenever I finally come to this conclusion.) And even though I still struggle with anxiety whenever I imagine the worst possible outcome, my faith in God’s ability to carry and to change me in difficult seasons is growing.
This is where joy comes in.
I have no doubt that the devil loves to get us thinking the worst-case scenario to keep us from confidently trusting God. He loves to make us forget that God is far greater and much more powerful than he (the devil) can ever be. Therefore, I meditate on scripture that reminds me about God’s love, mercy, power, ability, compassion, etc., etc., etc.!
Being joyful in tribulation isn’t about being happy when bad things happen. Rather, we can have confidence that through it all, either despite the trial or because of it, we can grow when we abide in God’s presence through prayer and reading His Word. Furthermore, finding joy in trials is what sets a believer apart from the rest of the world. It allows those around us to see the gospel hope that resides inside us.
Let’s pray to our heavenly Father now.
Father, show us how different we can be from the person we are today. Give us a glimpse of what we’ll be like when we mature in our faith. And, if we can handle the truth, show us what our future self will be like if we don’t change.
In the meanwhile, Lord, help us (and remind us how important it is) to count it all joy as we trust that You are in control – no matter what we’re going through, and especially when we can’t “feel” You. Amen.
Sheryl H. Boldt, a Franklin County resident, is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. Connect with her at [email protected]