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Pressing On Through Trials

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various
temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith
works patience. But let patience have her perfect work,
that you may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who
gives to all men liberally, and reproaches not; and it
shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing
wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the
sea driven with the wind and tossed. (James 1:2-6)

Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when
he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the
Lord has promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)

How do you respond when you face difficult times in life? One thing is certain, we all face hard and difficult times; no one is exempt from troubles. But what do we do with our suffering?

If we're honest, most of the time we beg God for a way out. Nobody WANTS to have to suffer. But God doesn't allow any trouble or any suffering to touch us for no reason: He has a purpose for every single trial we go. It is through our pain and trials and suffering that we grow closer to God and grow in our faith. We learn things in the midst of suffering that we can never learn any other way.

This comes as a surprise to many new Christians. They have somehow gotten the idea that once they receive Jesus as their Savior, they will never have any difficulties in their life - or if they do, God will make the problems go away. This is faulty theology, the result of the "name it and claim it", "feel good" gospel that tells them God wants them to be rich, and happy, and healthy. Jesus himself told us that we could expect to have troubles in this world:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in
me you might have peace. In the world you
shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

As we mature in our faith, we begin to look at our problems through God's eyes, knowing that He is working all things our for our good. (Romans 8:12). He wants us to keep pressing on in faith, even through our pain and difficulties. Our faith muscle has to be exercised, just like our physical muscles. A faith that has never been tested through the difficulties of life is a weak and ineffective faith.

Merely praying to be relieved from our suffering shows weak faith and spiritual immaturity. We have to grow enough in our faith to calmly ask God, "What do You want me to learn from this time of suffering, Lord? I know You have a reason for allowing this to come into my life. I'd rather not face this, but nevertheless, Lord, not my will but Yours be done."

We can be assured that through our trial, God is going to reveal something to us about Himself, His character, His plan, or His purpose. We can also be assured that when we have endured throughout our time of testing, we will receive the crown of life, We have His word on it!


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