Thinking rightly about our trials will be used for good and will lead to glory.
'Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.....Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.'
James 1v2-4, 12 (NIV)
Whenever we go through a trial our normal response is; 'Take it away!' In fact we can't see any good in going through times of testing. Trials are a frustration and a hardship - something to be avoided at all costs. But experience tells us that trials are unavoidable: 'whenever you face trials of many kinds.' Not 'if', but 'when you face trials.' Right now the world is facing the trial of a pandemic and our only hope is, 'Take it away.' But what if our trials are not all bad? James, the author of the text above, said something quite shocking: 'Consider it our joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials..!' How can he say that? There's nothing joyful about Coronavirus. Well, he doesn't say pretend to be happy, but 'consider it pure joy'. In other words, what God can accomplish through our trials is worth rejoicing about, not the trial itself. There are two things we can be joyful about as we submit our trials to God:
First, Trials are used for our good. Trials test us, they ask us where our hope lies. But the trials have a good purpose; 'so that you be mature and complete.' Trials shape and change our character so that we become more patient with those who suffer, more empathetic with those who grieve. Trials can make us into the people God made us to be.
Second, Trials will lead us to glory. Trials make us aware of our weakness. They are designed to cause us to depend upon God for our strength. The testing keeps us close to God, so when we have stood the test we: 'will receive the crown of life.' The promise of eternal joy where all trials will end.
So lets not waste our trials. Until they are taken away we can rejoice in what they are achieving for us as we trust in God.
Thank you Father that you rule over all our trials and can use them for good in our life today, and use them to lead us to glory. As we go through our trials please change me so that I become more patient, kind and understanding. Make me more like the person you created me to be, until I reach the promise of eternal joy.