Thank God for Trials?

    “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you fall into various trials,  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may become mature and complete, not lacking in anything.” ~James 1:2-4

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I hate the fact that James is right. But he is. And frankly, I hesitate to say it for fear God may “reward” me by sending me new trials (“But, God, I just wanted to tell them, not show them!”) Still, my heart knows that spiritual growth is best stimulated by testing. And, no, this is not some pretzel twist of religious logic, it’s hard reality.

Listerine brand mouthwash used to feature the tagline, “The taste you hate—twice a day.” No one loves trials, but committed Jesus followers know that trials are necessary. Just as bodybuilders know that muscles must be pushed to stimulate growth. Just as artists know that making art is accompanied by the exquisite pangs of birth. Dorothy Parker once said, “I hate writing, I love having written.” (I actually love writing, but there are times when I completely agree with this classic Dorothyism.)

C.H. Parkhurst, reflecting on the young shepherd David (future king of Israel) fending off a lion, said, “One would not think that a lion was a special blessing from God, one would think that only an occasion of alarm. (But) the lion was God’s opportunity in disguise. Every difficulty that presents itself to us, if we receive it in the right way, is God’s opportunity. Every temptation that comes is God’s opportunity.”

The converse is true, too. Trials rejected harden us and make us brittle. Exodus 9:12 says God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” How? By sending him trials that would have caused another to bend, deepen and mature. But in his pride, Pharaoh refused to bend. Instead, he stiffened himself, and broke.

So, thank you, God, for the opportunity to be more like You. Grumble, grumble. It’s just that, if you’d ever been human you’d realize… Oh, wait, you have. That’s what the season we’re about to enter commemorates. So, I stand corrected.

Or rather, I will.

I may never learn to love trials, but I will persevere because I know that I’ll eventually be grateful for the maturity and wholeness they’ve produced. And so, even now, on the grumbliest day of the year (Black Friday)…

I’ll consider it all joy.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Thank God for Trials?

  1. Amen. Well said. One of the best things about going to trial, you will actually be assigned a public defender…… no wait, you aren’t speaking if that kind of trial 🙂 It still applies, no matter what trials you face, you have an Advocate running interference for you, and those times of testing are not about “pass or fail,” they are about revealing to you how strong you are and how good He is. No matter what comes our way, we have already been prepared for such a time as this, and we have a full battalion of back up.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I would have reblogged this, but your link was missing. At least, I didn’t see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jo Martin says:

    Today’s message was very good….well written and to the point. Thank you Bob Martin

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank God for trials, but I hate the trial! Thanks Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. smzang says:

    You remind us that God is a great partner.

    (and
    I surely agree “black Friday is a grumbliest day”…luv it!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ashes4him says:

    Amen, great post, may we all learn to love our trials as much as our Lord did and share in the joy of sufferings. I have a ways to go…thank you for reminding me to do so without grumbling. ashes4him

    Liked by 2 people

  7. grAnnie Roo says:

    You say it so well. Oh wait a minute, you usually do.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I’m with you, Mitch: “I may never learn to love trials, but I will persevere because I know that I’ll eventually be grateful for the maturity and wholeness they’ve produced.” I’m also grateful we’re often more aware of God’s presence, provision, and even blessing during trials. Those thin places between heaven and earth occur more frequently in the midst of challenge than during a season of ease. (Please remind me of these benefits when a difficulty looms large and I lose my focus!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Thank God for Trials? — Mitch Teemley – Living Well Rituals

  10. Terri Nida says:

    I’m like you, I’ll never be happy about trials. Yet all of my trials have built my character, and made me mature and complete. For that I am grateful. This is a great post, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “Let patience have her perfect work.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Life Isn’t Fair! | Mitch Teemley

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