Links Daily Devotional

The Need for Testing

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trial of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (James 1:2-3, NIV)

When I watch golf on television there always seems to be a lot of commentary around what it takes for a new young player to break out of the pack and into the winner’s circle.

What makes a winner different from every other excellent player on the tour? I’m sure there are many factors, but possibly the greatest one is a player’s ability to overcome and learn from adversity. One thing we all learn as participants in the game is that trouble is only one swing away. That trouble either becomes a disaster or an opportunity depending on our attitude about it.

Trials and bad situations give us opportunities we otherwise would not choose for ourselves. We would all love to have perfect lies on wide open golf courses. Then we wouldn’t have to worry so much about making perfect swings on every shot. We could remain undisciplined golfers without feeling the pressure of potential trouble on our next swing. Becoming an excellent golfer requires adversity—it cannot be obtained any other way. We don’t get better when we are not challenged.

This is also true of our walk with Christ. We secretly wish this were not true—that somehow as believers we will be insulated from trouble. God’s plan for us has a different agenda. Our perspective about trials and struggle will determine how they affect us. We can let them cause us to doubt God’s power and grace or we can embrace them as part of God’s greater purpose for us and let them work to increase our faith and make us stronger.

Today’s Scripture passage says we are to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of any kind. That is a tall order because most trials are by definition unpleasant in some way. Why should we be joyful about something that is unpleasant? There is only one reason. We will gain faith and strength with every trial and test that we learn to give back to him. He knows we are weak and flawed. He wants us to become faithful and strong. Training is never easy, but we must embrace it to obtain the prize. We don’t ask for difficulty, but it will come. God cares too much about us to leave us the way we are. He is ever present and won’t forsake us, but he will allow difficulty to strengthen us.

When trouble comes, and it will, call upon him. He is always available to help in our time of need. Our faith in him will allow us to be overcomers of all that comes our way. The faith we gain with each trial will help us be stronger for the next one and just might let us get a glimpse of his real power and glory. Trouble comes to all of us—don’t try to overcome it on your own. Have faith for God’s greater purpose for your life and he will see you through whatever comes your way.

Linda Ballard
August 13, 2014
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