In a Different Light
As I was thinking about him, it made me think of trials. You know, those things that try my patience, those things that ruin my plans, those things that most of us do everything we can to avoid. But for the Christian, trials are something that we should see in a different light. Not as bad and something to be avoided, but as something that actually benefits us and that we should desire.
God’s word tells us that we should “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Pure joy? Most of us see trials as agony, but pure joy? Yes, because we must realize the benefits that these trials bring. Again the Bible tells us that “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:2-4).
Temporary Trials, Eternal Rewards
Can you imagine your child coming home from school on his first day of second grade, and telling you that there will be no more tests, quizzes, or exams for the rest of his elementary education? I’m sure you would not rejoice with him but would be concerned about the caliber of this school! And it’s the same with us. We must not focus on avoiding the trials but actually look forward to the results the trials bring us.
As we each go through trials, or should I say more accurately, as we each grow through trials, you and I have some powerful promises from God. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). God promises that these temporary trials will be replaced with eternal rewards.
In Revelation, the prophet looks into the future and sees people in heaven and he asks where they came from. The answer is given to him: “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).
Do you feel like you are going through a great tribulation? Revelation tells us that there will be a distinct group of people in heaven that have gone through great tribulation! Isn’t that great news? We can find a reason to rejoice in our trials. Even though most people hate trials and avoid them, we as Christians should look forward to and rejoice in trials, toil, hardship, and sacrifice. Like my friend who rejoices when the market goes down because he realizes the gain he is receiving, so you and I can rejoice in trials, knowing that we are gaining as well.
Written by Mark Ferrell.
This article first appeared in the November 19, 2008 Pastor's Corner newsletter. Reprinted with permission.© 2002 - 2021, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.