Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. --James 1:2-3Notice first that the verse says WHEN you face trials, not IF. I've said it on here before, but I'll say it again - being a Christian doesn't mean we get a free pass to an easy life. The Bible tells us right here (and other places as well), that we will most certainly face trials. We can't avoid them and not only that, but they'll come in all shapes and sizes, in many kinds and forms.
But we are still to REJOICE!
Why does God test our faith? Why does He allow hard times to happen, and stress to enter our lives? It's because He knows it's going to make us stronger. These trials we face have both an immediate impact on our lives, as well as an eternal impact. They strengthen our faith and our belief and our walk with Him. And they better equip us for sharing that faith with others as well.
And you know what? Jesus himself went through all these tests and trials himself. In Matthew 4, after his own baptism, Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and fasted. At the end of it, Satan came to him and tried to tempt him three separate times. Jesus suffered through trials as well, and it made him stronger too!
God doesn't test us out of evilness or a desire to see us struggle. But He tests us because He knows the testing will Produce Perseverance. He knows it will make us stronger. He knows sometimes we need to go through the bad stuff, to learn to lean more on Him.
We should rejoice because we have a God who loves us enough to test and strengthen us.
I am not personally going through any hard times or trials, but that doesn't mean they won't come soon. I want and need to remember these things when those trials come. No matter how low and rough it may seem, God is with me every step of the way, strengthening and encouraging me. And He will do the same for you as well!
In the midst of trials, suffering, persecution, tests and just really hard days - REJOICE! - because the strength of the Lord is on it's way...
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