Trials are inevitable. As long as we are in this world, there will always be problems to solve, disagreements in relationships, and difficult decisions that must be made. And while many think that deciding to follow Jesus means life will get easier, that's a mistaken assumption.
The book of Isaiah tells us:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you" (Is. 43:1–2, ESV, emphasis added).
It is important to note Isaiah's choice of terms in these verses. This dynamic of passing through water and fire is not referred to as an if possibility but is clearly tagged as a when occurrence.
James further elaborates on this subject:
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds..." (James 1:2, ESV).
So not only are we promised trials, but we are called to be joyful about them—not a natural response! This is a refining process The Message describes this way: "You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors" (James 1:3).
I know that under pressure my faith has been forced out into the open, and at times I have not liked what I have seen. Yet James continues to extol the virtue of enduring trials: "So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way" (James 1:3–4, MSG).
We all go through tests, so why not allow them to have a full effect? I have learned that if I pull out of something too early, it usually means a retest in the future. When you are working a muscle group, the growth happens when you push yourself to the point of muscle failure. Likewise when you give all you can give, then somehow pull from a God source outside yourself, you grow to give just a bit more. In other words, being consistent during a trial helps our faith reach full maturity. That's well worth the discomfort of going through difficulty!
To do this well, we need heavenly wisdom, so James continues: "If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it" (James 1:5, MSG).
God is our source of wisdom, and He is generous rather than stingy with His counsel. I believe He strategically positions us so that we have to ask for His help. He is not in heaven uninvolved, arms crossed, telling Jesus, "Can you believe this? They still can't figure this out." No, He loves it when we involve Him!
When I wake up in the morning and don't know what I'm doing, I say, "Heavenly Father, today I need Your wisdom."
He answers, "Daughter, I have you covered."
He will do the same for you!
Do you need God's help to stay steady through a trial? Ask for His wisdom. He won't withhold it from you. In fact, He will flood your life with His grace so you can be "mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."
If you want to dig deeper into the subject of growing through trials, check out Lisa Bevere's book Girls with Swords: How to Carry Your Cross Like a Hero.
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