On Sunday our Assistant Pastor prayed for the offering. While praying he asked God to be with those people that might be going through trials in their life. I thought I'd do a little digging into the scriptures to see what God has to say about trials.
As I have reflected over trials that I have faced in my own life, I was drawn to the first chapter of James. In the first 13 verses we are given some understanding of the purpose of trials that come our way.
Purpose in Trials
1. When difficult times come into our lives and we find ourselves unable to comprehend/to understand; the enemy is quick to throw doubts/questions into our minds.
2. We find ourselves questioning God's goodness/God's wisdom in allowing these things to happen.
3. We may even be bitter and angry with God for allowing this to happen to us and wonder if He really understands.
4. But God's word confidently reminds us that God does understand . . .
Things do not just happen haphazardly to the Christian.
With no meaning/no purpose.
5. God is in control and as Paul reminds us no one or nothing can separate us from God's love. Rom. 8--even the most difficult of circumstances.
6. James reminds us that God wants us to trust Him in the trials of life.
For as we trust Him in the trials God can use the difficult trial to mold us:
To mature us.
So that we will be more like Jesus Christ our Savior.
7. Isaiah the prophet said in trying to comprehend God's ways: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts. Neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa. 55:8-9)
8. God would have us trust Him in the difficult trials:
For even though we cannot understand He loves us and He is in control.
He will use this trial to help us grow spiritually and to help us mature and become more like Jesus Christ. This is what I am praying for in my own life.
9. Trust Him! Keep your eyes on Him! And God will use even this trial for His glory. I have to remember to trust Him in all that I am dealing with. I know He will work everything out to His glory.
10. But James goes on to tell us that not only does God have purpose in trials--but also that God gives wisdom in trials.
Wisdom in Trials
(Read verses 5 and 6)
1. James recognizes that we may not always be able to see the purpose in trials or see the good that can come from trials.
2. When we find ourselves unable to see the good and the purpose in trials we are to:
Keep on asking Him for wisdom.
And our God who loves to give will respond so that we can see the good and the purpose in trials.
3. Then James illustrates and says:
That even a poor man has much good in his trial of poverty if he knows God--the owner of the universe.
And a rich man through he lose everything can rejoice in the good of having learned not to place his faith in riches which quickly pass away.
4. God has been very good to us in allowing us to see the good even in difficult trials.
For so much good has already come from this trial:
As individuals we have seen faith in action and we have learned lessons we shall never forget.
5. Yet in the days to come we will continue to need wisdom to see the purpose and the good in this trial.
James exhorts us to keep on asking God in faith for wisdom.
And our generous loving God will give us the wisdom needed.
(But finally James reminds us that not only does God have a purpose in trials; and gives wisdom in trials but thirdly there is comfort in trials.)
Comfort in Trials
(Read verse 12)
1. James here reminds us that this life is not all there is to life.
That right will be commended.
That due reward will be give for faithfulness.
2. We often live as if we are the living on the way to the dying.
3. But God's word makes it very clear that we are the dying on the way to the living.
4. What is in store then for one who knows Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and passes from this life?
Phil. l tells us that when a Christian departs he is with Christ.
II Cor. 5 tells that when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord
And I Corinthians 15 and I Thessalonians 4 tells us that someday that body which for the present sleeps in the grave will be resurrected and united with our soul/spirit and in this glorified state we will be with the Lord forever.
And there rewards will be given for endurance through trials and for faithfulness to God in difficult times.
I have come to this Conclusion
l. There is purpose in trials:
God is still in control
He has not forsaken us but wants us to trust Him so we can mature.
2. God has and will give us wisdom to see the purpose and the good in all trials--As we ask in faith.
3. And there is comfort in knowing that this life is not all there is--that absent from the body means present with the Lord.
I have tried to work through the book of James in my quiet time this week. I know God wants me to grow, mature, and to seek Him in all trials I find myself going through.
Materials used The Bible and Bible.org