The simple truth is that there is purpose in pain. God’s purpose. For our good and His glory.
I don’t like trials. I don’t like pain. But have I seen God at work in and through those trials? Yes I have. Do I always see Him at work DURING those trials? No I don’t. But I can look back, always I can look back, and see that He helped me, He strengthened me. More importantly, trials drive us to intimacy with God, when we get to the end of our own resources. God’s boundless strength is there, waiting for me, when I finally acknowledge that my strength is gone.
Honestly, I’ve had my fair share of trials lately. And my strength is gone. But His strength is not.
Pain feels like fire. Fire purifies. But only faith can withstand the fire.
When I suffer, I am more aware of Jesus’ suffering than ever before, and I come to realize (eventually) that my pain is nothing in comparison. NOTHING.
I don’t remember this – I just don’t – during times of blessing.
And here’s the hardest yet most beautiful thing about trials:
“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have it’s perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Be joyful in trials. WHEN (not if) you encounter them. Because there is a purpose – a testing of our faith that produces endurance. And endurance produces maturity. This testing leads us to maturity. Therefore, we should consider it joy when the trials come.
And I want that. Endurance. Maturity. It’s worth it.
TRIALS ARE NOT A TEMPTATION. THEY ARE A TESTING THAT OFFER US OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
Growth? More intimacy with God? I want that.
James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
WOW! I want that.
And 1 Peter 1:6-7 affirms: ”In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while … you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Are you seeing the themes? The relationship between temptation and testing and trials? The purpose of trials?
The result of trials, in our lives here on earth and in heaven?
Glory be! No, I do not naturally turn to joy, rejoicing, when trials come. But I am learning. Because I know they have a perfect result – in me and for me. And that God is glorified when we handle our trials with HIS strength, HIS joy, persevering because we want endurance and maturity.
Because we want to grow in our relationship with Him.
Because we want the crown.
Because the fire purifies our faith in a particular and profound way that nothing else can.
So much to gain. So hard to grasp. So important to learn.
Am I minimizing pain? No. Please hear me on this. Pain is … well, it’s painful.
Whether physical pain, emotional pain, grief, trauma, confusion, discouragement, depression or any other kind of pain you or I might be experiencing, it just plain hurts. Like fire.
But we have to remember – we HAVE to remember – that God has given us the prescription for getting through the pain. And the purpose for the hard thing. And the result of handling it HIS WAY. And it is found in only one place.
Getting through the tough stuff with joy. Yes please.