Let’s be honest, no one likes them, and we certainly wouldn’t volunteer for them. The reality is they are part of life. You just can’t avoid them. Some are more trying than others – they come in varying degrees.
The annoying thing is, you can’t make them go away, they won’t. You can’t get round them, you have to go through them. There are no short cuts or instant answers, so what do we do with them?
James says, “Count or consider it pure or great joy whenever you experience various trials…” At that point we want to say to James, “come on, you don’t understand what I’m going through…” But hang on a minute let’s hear him out. James is not saying the trial itself is a joy, but rather something about them is, or can be and that’s where he goes, he says, “Count or consider it pure joy… whenever you experience various trials knowing that the trial of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
That’s some statement. James says we need to know something. We need to know and consider. Trials then and what we do with them are about our maturity, completion, lacking nothing – and that doesn’t just mean when we get to heaven. It’s about the fact that our Father God is Sovereign and Purposeful. It’s about the fact that he we are His children, and His desire is to raise them into mature sons and daughters, people who know how to do life with Him in the here and now of the now and not yet of the Kingdom of God.
In our instant coffee age we just want God to snap His fingers, say the Word, and get it over with, and then move on, but it doesn’t work like that in God’s scheme of things.
Our trials can be “our masters in Divinity” as Martin Luther put it. Frequently we pray to know more of God and expect some blinding flash, powerful encounter, revelation etc. and instead what we get is some unexpected trial! Then we turn on God and get all moody about it.
Trials says James are a part of this life of faith and it’s what we do with them that counts. James says they are part of God’s production line for us, everyone of them has value, and it’s value is in being pushed back into God, knowing Him in the trial and hearing his voice and responding to him.
Whatever your trial, don’t dignify the trial with your complaints, but dignify God in and through the trial, and thereby allow God to use it to mature you to be the person He wants you to be and serve the purposes He has for you.