Hardships. Everyone has them. The lens that we view our hardships through determines our attitude and perception of the situation. Trials expose our faith and whether or not we are completely putting the situation in God’s hands and believing that he is sovereign over it all. Let me just throw this out there: the presence of pain does not mean the absence of God. Actually, the presence of pain is an opportunity to grow closer with our Father. One thing I know is that I don’t grow spiritually or as a person when my life is going great. Unfortunately, when life is being sweet to me, I tend to have the “I can do this on my own” attitude, which is a mindset that I fear having. I don’t ever want to get to the point in my life where I literally think that I can handle everything on my own. And if I ever get to that point, I want God to break me. Because I need him. I crave him. I’m desperate for him. Man oh man, the entire book of James reminds me of how Great he is during trials.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” [James 1:2-3] Several times, I sit here and wonder how in the heck can I look at this situation and consider it joy. But, then James continues, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” [James 1:4] And, when we read further into James, we can understand more fully that God allows these things to happen in our life for His glory and for our protection and growth. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” [James 1:12]
Now, lets look at Hebrews:12. In the book of James, we can learn how God wants us to act under trials. And, in Hebrews, we can learn why God allows trials. Hebrews 12:6 says, “The Lord disciplines the on he loves,” and verse 7 tells us to “endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children.” Here is a good way to look at it: Parents discipline their children out of love because they want what is best for them. God, our Father in heaven, does the exact same thing, except He is more patient and more loving. And finally, verse 11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
In summary, trials and hardships:
- Give us wisdom
- Mature us
- Remind us that this is not our home
- Tangibly show us how much God loves us (the Lord disciplines the ones he loves)
- Produce a harvest of righteousness and peace
Therefore, Thank God for these hardships. He is sovereign over everything. When something happens to you, and you don’t like the outcome, just remember that God went before you and has already suffered from what you’re suffering from. We serve an All knowing god. Nothing slips out of his hands and loses his control. He is in control of it all. I PROMISE that a rejoicing heart will harvest more than a bitter one. BECAUSE HE IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE EVEN WHEN HE BREAKS US. Keep pressing on. Success on this earth is not our end goal, and there will be a day with no more suffering.