I was talking to one of my sisters in law recently and she made a comment that made me think. She referred to a trial a friend was walking through as a journey.
It made me consider how we deal with and talk about the trials we face. I think if we were honest we usually want trials to pass as soon as possible and we look for ways to change an outcome for the better.
But trials are not merely hard things that we need to muster strength and get through. Trials are opportunities for spiritual growth, learning, and stretching. They give us experience we can serve others with. No, trials are not fun or convenient or something we would desire. But they can be used in our life for the good.
When my sister in law called it a journey I couldn't help but think how true that is. A trial is something we walk through and experience. We don't know how long the journey will last or what will happen along the way but we stand in the midst, praying for strength and leaning hard on God.
James 1 reminds us that endurance and faith come from testing/trials. If we never experienced trials we would have limited ways to grow in Christ. Instead, we grow and mature through the sufferings we go through (v 4). Remember also what Paul says in Romans 5. He tells us to rejoice in suffering because, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame…” (vv 3-5a).
For some reason trials seem to catch us off guard but we are told to expect difficult things to happen if we follow Christ (I Peter 4:12-14). We don’t know what trials will look like - sometimes it is a health diagnosis, family issues, personal struggles, or losing a loved one. Often it’s seasons of hard times with children, plans falling through, work, or relationships. The point is trials are different for everyone and come in all sizes. But we know the solution.
Instead of trying to escape trials we must turn to God in prayer and trust, asking Him to grant strength and grace for the road ahead. Sometimes a trial is over in a week. Other times we struggle for years before we see the end. But the constant to them all is God. He is merciful. He is gracious. He is able to comfort (II Cor. 1:3-4).
What trial are you going through? Have you turned it over to God and asked for His wisdom and help?
Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash