Trials come and trials go. If you’re breathing, you’re going to face trials and conflict. Most of life is unstable. No one promised you peaches and cream and sunshine and roses. What trials are you facing today? How will you respond?
James said “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.” He also said, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” The good news is there is a goal and purpose and end to the trials you face. The trial is cancer, unemployment, finding a house, moving, heartache, loneliness, economic woe, car accidents, heart attacks, being a widow or widower, long-term care of a loved one, or a hard family member, a messy and high maintenance neighbor or coworker, or even a church member. Trials are real and small in God’s eyes, and they serve God’s purpose. Joseph said to his brothers, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.” You will meet various trials in life, and there is meaning to your trial.
But count it all joy. The fact is, God does give hard circumstances, testing our faith, to refine and purify and mold us and shape us to be more like Christ. “Trials produce endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Trials can grow your hope and reliance and dependence on God, not yourself. God can give you trials to overcome your pride and arrogance and self-dependence. God is in the business of slapping you down like clay on the table, to reform you and perfect you, into His image. God is the first one to throw an ice-cold bucket of humility on you when needed. JC Ryle said, “Trials make us think, wean us from the world, send us to the Bible, and drive us to our knees.” The goal is to know Christ, treasure Christ, follow Christ, and Christ will bless you and reward you as you remain steadfast and stand the test. The crown of life is promised to you, you will receive it. Be approved, be inspected and not rejected, be real. “A man can be content to have his head broken with a bag of gold, provided he has the gold when it is done,” John Trapp said, and the bag of gold is coming to you. Stand on His promises and hang on one more day, hour, or minute.