Trials test the will I still [_____] in us.
I'd so love to be able to sit and talk over pumpkin spice lattes about all the things God is up to in your life and mine. I'd love to look you in the eye and tell you that you're never alone, no matter what you're walking through. This change of seasons is always a fresh reminder to me that even when it feels like life is falling apart, God is still working to breathe life into what might seem to be hopeless or lost. Even when things turn cold around us, He's still with us. Even when everything we can see and understand changes into something completely different, He's He's still faithful, He still loves us, and He's still so, so good.
Changes in seasons often come with trials of different kinds, don't they? And as those trials fall, questions are unearthed in us. Will I still believe God is good? Will I still follow Him even when I can’t see how I could possibly take the next step?
James tells us to, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV).
But look closely there and notice that it doesn’t say, “because the testing of [your strength, your hope, or your character] produces perseverance.”
It says, “the testing of your FAITH produces perseverance.”
Perseverance, character, strength, hope...they’re bi-products of what trials are actually putting to the test in us (Romans 5:1-4). James tells us that it’s our faith being put to the test when we’re facing trials.
Trials test the “will I still believe God is good?” in us. Trials test the “will I still trust that God is who He says He is?” and the “will I still follow Him when I can’t see how I could possibly take the next step?” in us. Trials test the “even if the worst thing I can imagine happens, will I still choose to praise God?” in us.
We can choose the joy found in knowing Jesus (joy that means being aware of, recognizing, and rejoicing because of God’s grace) when we’re walking through painful circumstances because the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Perseverance will help us trust God through whatever is still to come down the road.
Romans 8:28 reminds us that God works everything out for good for those who love Him. And it starts in our faith. Everything else we gain & grow in when we face trials is the overflow of the work He is doing in our faith.
I’m so thankful that God is thorough and kind and good. I’m so glad that He won’t leave us in the struggle and that He knows exactly what we need.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls,” (1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV).
Can we stand on that truth together, my friend?
For more digging:
Romans 5:1-4, 8:18-39
1 Peter 1:3-9, 4:12-13
Trials test the “will I still believe God is good?” in us.
Trials test the “will I still trust that God is who He says He is?” and the “will I still follow Him when I can’t see how I could possibly take the next step?” in us.
Trials test the “even if the worst thing I can imagine happens, will I still choose to praise God?” in us.
They’re not easy and they don’t often happen in ways we would have chosen on our own, right? But God’s ways are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55). He won’t let any trial we walk through be wasted. He’s always working things out for His glory and our good. Always.
What’s another one you can speak to from your life? What have you walked through that’s helped you to see a “trials test the will I still ________________ in us?” Fill in the blank with your own. I’d love to hear what you come up with in the comments!