This blog was originally posted on January 25, 2019.
In our trials, we must remember that though God will do it, we must go through it. This is the message of the first chapter of the book of James.
James is writing to Christians who are experiencing all kinds of challenges, some related to being a Christian and others more general to life. But no matter what the trial, James is assuring us that God is at work.
God has a purpose for us in trials. He is using the hardships to strengthen our faith and build our enduring faithfulness.
God grants wisdom to us when we pray in faith. Wisdom to know how to respond in each new twist and turn of a trial, wisdom to see the difference between being faithful to Christ and fighting against him when we face hardship, and wisdom for walking through life’s storms.
God gives the promise that, along with building our faith and granting wisdom, he will reward our faithfulness and get us all the way to the glory that awaits us.
Can you hear what he is trying to accomplish in these words? He is assuring Christians that God will do it. God will be with us, help us, build our faith, and keep us strong. God will give us joy now and glory to come. James is building our confidence in God. We can go through the trials of life steady and sure, with joy and peace, because God will grant everything we need to do so.
Yes, God will do it. And, we must go through it. James’ pregame speech is designed to get us on the field and keep us there. The game must be played. We will “meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2).
With enough common sense, we can avoid some kinds of pain. With enough money, we can purchase a level of comfort. With the right skill set, we can manage life and keep it somewhat peaceful. But no amount of money or management can remove all the trials of life, especially when those trials are related to being a Christian or responding to them as a Christian. We simply must go through them.
Being a Christian means that we have received the forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God. The gospel is not about self-help; it is about a Savior beyond ourselves. But we can recognize that being a Christian does give us a new perspective on the hardships of life. It is because we are God’s children, by faith in Christ, that we can trust him to get us through our current trial. And since God will do it, we can go through it.
James calls us to ask God for wisdom in our trials. This weekend, pray for yourself, for someone else, and for our church.