Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. (James 1:2-3)
How do we fair when things are a little bit too difficult or different from the 'ordinary' in our lives? If there is uncertainty looming, where do we turn? The answer to those two questions can show us a great deal about where it is we place our trust and on whom we 'rely' when the times are a bit challenging. Panic setting in, or a peace that seems to envelop you - which one best and most often describes you?
When our faith is being tested, it is an opportunity for God to demonstrate his power and grace. If we face difficulties in 'panic mode', we frequently take things into our own hands. In other words, we jump right out of God's arms and attempt to take control of the situation, leaving God somewhere 'back there'. Get out ahead of God's power and you might just find yourself facing some pretty tough stuff without the wherewithal to deal with it!
Some things we should keep in mind:
- Our faith isn't tested because God has it in for us. It is being tested because God wants to strengthen that reliance upon him, not our reliance upon others or ourselves.
- The testing of our faith is an opportunity to grow closer to God than we ever have been before. If we embrace the test, we are likely to discover things about God and ourselves that we really didn't fully grasp prior to the test.
- Our plan may not always work when it comes to facing the hardships of life. The closer we get to Jesus in the times of testing means the less we rely upon our own plans and devices to work through those hardships.
- Character is most frequently developed in the 'hard places' in life. It seldom comes when we aren't 'stretched' or 'stressed' a bit. Character is the result of a 'tested faith'. To resist the testing is to resist the growth God desires. Just sayin!