Success in Trials – James 1:2-8

October 26, 2022

Success in Trials

James 1:2-8

It doesn’t matter where you hide in your house, your kids will find you. They know all the hiding spots. “I’ll be safe in the closet” you say. Nope, they will find you. “I’ll be safe in the car” you think. Think again; not even the car is off limits. And when they find you, they will bring with them their needs, fussiness, and struggles. As a parent you have to learn how to handle it.

The same is true with trials; they will find you. There is no safe place on this earth where you can escape the struggle and pain of this world.

However, the Lord offers an incredibly helpful way to deal with the trials that come our way (James 1:2–8).

To begin, trials are to be judged as opportunities for joy. When a trial finds you, your first thoughts will likely be heavy. “Why is this happening to me?” “I hate this!” But what if instead your first thoughts were joyful. I don’t mean rejoicing in the fact that you feel pain, but rather delighting in the hand of God through the trial. We are not celebrating the pain, but thanking God for what He is doing in us.

The reason why we can find delight is because these trials are perfecting agents. They are producing qualities and character that God desires which are of ultimate good for us. We can count trials as occasions of joy because we know trials also contain God’s grace. Ultimately, they are giving us steadfast endurance or what Chris Vlachos calls “staying power.” Think of trials as dumbbell weights. Although heavy, they can be used to develop strength (Douglas Moo).

When we see trials correctly, they become weights we lift that produce inward strength.

However, trials may still leave you struggling to delight in God and see things from His perspective. All you may see is the pain in what seems to be a meaningless trial. In such moments the Lord teaches and commands us to ask Him for wisdom. Wisdom is defined here as seeing trials from God’s perspective. As such, wisdom considers trials from their end result as well as the current joy of their perfecting work. When we ask, God promises to give us wisdom (or joyful perspective) generously and without making fun of us.

God does command though that we set aside doubt and ask in faith. May the Lord bless you to consider trials as occasions of joy, knowing they are perfecting agents for your good, and to ask for wisdom when you find it hard to see.