James 1:2-4 – “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
If you understand the purpose of trials, then you will be able to count it all joy because you know what God is doing in your life.
The purpose of trials is spiritual maturity – “so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The testing of your faith through trials produces endurance. Endurance is the quality that enables a person to stay on his feet when facing a storm, and that endurance results in spiritual maturity. God’s purpose in trials is to make us better, not to hurt us.
Several years ago when I lived in Dallas, my cat McKenzie was very sick. I had to keep taking him to the vet for tests. Each time I took him in, he would look at me with these eyes that broke my heart, as if he were saying, why are you doing this? Why are you letting them do this to me? I thought you loved me.
I would hold his face in my hands and tell him (as if he could understand), “McKenzie, I do love you. That is why I am allowing these painful things to be done to you. I want you to get better, and the only way you can get better is to go through these tests. This process is necessary in order to make you healthy again.”
Then I realized – I look at God that way when I am in the middle of a trial. God, I thought you loved me. Why are you doing this to me? Why are you allowing this? Why don’t you get me out of this?
And His answer is, Yes, I do love you. That is why I’m allowing this to happen – to make you better. This process is necessary to make you healthy and mature.
If we view trials as God’s instruments for perfecting us, then we should rejoice in our trials rather than questioning God’s love for us. That’s easy to say, but so hard to do. I’m still learning this.
The next time you find yourself in the midst of a trial, instead of praying, “God, get me out of this,” ask God to give you the grace to get through the trial. Allow Him to work in your life as He needs to in order to make you better.