My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-3
Brethren we will experience trials in this life, it is not a matter of if, but of when.
Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward. Job 5:7
There are many different kinds of trials that we experience while
…we wait for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:10
James gives a few types of trials we face and ways of dealing with them in James chapter five.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing Psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Le t him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. James 5:13-20
Sickness, suffering sinning, straying are all trials that we may suffer while on our journey to heaven. Fortunately, joy, gladness and cheerfulness can come into our lives to give us respite from the trials. If we are suffering from any difficulty or calamity we can pray asking for God’s help and deliverance. If we are sick we can call for the elders to pray over us anointing us with oil in the name of the Lord, and we can trust that the Lord will heal us. If our illness is due to sin, then we will be forgiven. If we are stuck in sin, and experiencing chastisement in the form of illness, then we can confess our sins to one another, pray for each other that we can be delivered from the chains of sin and be healed. Effective, fervent prayer from those who are righteous is very effective. We don’t need counseling to overcome our sins, we need to confess and pray for one another. Finally the trial of straying brethren can be overcome as those who are faithful seek to turn the one in error back to the truth of God’s Word.
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2
The trials that we experience can strengthen our trust and reliance in the Lord Jesus Christ as we respond to them in the manner that He directs in James chapter 5. The Lord encourages us that we can know what to do in our trials by asking Him for wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6
So our attitude when we experience trials is very important and dictates whether or not we will turn to the Lord for help, or despair and reject the Lord in our time of need. When we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and rely on His help in trials our faith and reliance in Him is strengthened and we will have greater patience and confidence when dealing with difficulty.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5
The love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit reassures us that our trials, heartaches, and sorrows are used by God to strengthen us in our faith in Him, and so strengthened we then have the ability to respond in a godly manner and glorify Him despite difficulties.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, who having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. 1 Peter 1:3-8
When we compare the trials that we endure with the love and provision that God has given us through His Son Jesus Christ, and the fact that trials prove the genuineness of our faith, we can endure them due to our love for Jesus Christ which redounds to Him because of His goodness and grace to us. Peter continues throughout this epistle to give different specific instances where we can experience difficulty and then gives specifics on how to effectively overcome them. He also gives more general approaches to trials that are directions for victorious living.
For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for you faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”, who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 1 Peter 2:20-23,
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 1 Peter 3:15-16
Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:19
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
First, and foremost our behavior is vitally important. We are commanded to do good no matter what. God commands us to do good when we are mistreated, following Jesus Christ’s example, to do good to silence the opponents, and to commit ourselves to Him by doing good when we are persecuted. We can do good when we follow Christ’s example, sanctifying Him as Lord in our hearts, trusting God to take care of us in our trials, and speaking the truth in love to those who oppose us. Paul, always an excellent example, while in chains in Rome, was used by God to bring members of Caesar’s household to faith through his testimony of trusting the Savior in trials. Philippians 4:22 Our testimony in trials gives ample evidence of our faith in Jesus Christ, and indeed, is considered by our Heavenly Father, as revealed to us by Peter, as the true grace of God in our lives.
By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. 1 Peter 5:12
Suffering is a part of God’s will in our lives. Often our trials are the result of God chastening us in order to turn us away from sin and error, and turn us instead to walk in humble obedience to Him.
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:7-13
The most important point about God’s chastening is that it proves that we belong to Him. What a relief! All of our problems and pain do not go unused and wasted, but are used by God to train us in righteousness and to allow us to share in His holiness. Wow! What should our response be when we experience trials? We should count it all joy because of the perfecting work that our Perfect Heavenly Father does in our lives for our profit and His glory as we patiently trust in Him.