Thank God For Trials
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him." James 1:12
Trials are blessings for the Christian.
This makes no sense to those whose focus is on the here and now, namely, earthly reign. Our pride and desperation to hold on to our selves, our rights, our desires, our lives drive us to fight hard against adversity.
This is natural. And good. God is the great preserver, and He has certainly imparted to us a strong desire to preserve life; and He blesses us with a will that fights to live. However, there is, even in our human nature, a physical and emotional life which shrinks from self-sacrifice, suffering, and surrender.
I think what affects the glorious establishing of God's creation is the constant temptation to focus on the wrong thing. Living for this life is vital, but living now for the" life after" must be our ultimate purpose and end.
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it." Mark 8:35
"He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal." John 12:25
This hard principle is revealed in all four of the gospels. But, what is Jesus talking about? It's simple if we will look to His life - before, during, and after His earthly occupation - and focus on what and who is gained.
Did He not sacrifice Himself for love?
Did He not give up His place in heaven knowing the hate, the ridicule, the rejection, and the utter brutality He would endure by those whom He came to love?
Because He was willing to lose to win. Not only victory over sin and death, but us. Jesus has won us! We are His. Because of love. Because of mercy. Because of grace. By the power of God, He fixed His focus on His Father, His mission, and His prize. We are His prize! And He is ours!
Isn't it obvious then, that the foundation of our glory be laid in suffering like Him?
Trials usher in afflictions of various degrees. They aim to break us, teach us, protect us, even tempt us to forsake the One we love. Let us remember that trials, in God's economy, are meant to shape our desires, test and strengthen our faith, transform our worldview, work into us a greater weight of glory, and bless us with deeper intimacy with Grace.
Thank You for trials. Without the trials You have prescribed for me, I would be quite ill-equipped for the call as Your disciple. Rutherford once wrote, "Grace withers without adversity and the devil is but God's master-fencer, to teach us to handle our weapons." I realize I must embrace hardship as a gateway to Your grace. Please teach me to be humble and courageous, to give up my life to gain Jesus; just as He gave up His life to gain me. Thank You, Father, for this strange and mysterious gift. Thank You for trials that cause me to want more of Your grace, more of Your Son, and less of this world, less of myself.