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 were feeling mistreated or facing some other devastating ordeal) will we experience firsthand Gods power and intervention. And, consequently, find out how strong our faith is.
But lets 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 were not talking about human reasoning.
Im convinced God knows what Hes talking about. (Gods 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 Gods 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 Gods love, mercy, power, ability, compassion, etc., etc., etc.!
Being joyful in tribulation isnt 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 Gods 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.
Lets 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 well 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 dont 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 were going through, and especially when we cant 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]