As a Christian, I expect to face trials. I expect opposition.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. ” 1 Peter 4:12
But what about the trial that comes from a seemingly godly person? Someone who claims to have the spirit of God, who uses the word of God to defend their causing the trial?
How can we consider this trial to be of benefit, when it suggests ill thoughts towards a brother or sister?
“Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3
Steadfastness. In the WORD, the word ‘steadfast’ is used to describe God’s love 398 times.
Could it be that trials shape and develop our ability to love with the kind of love that God loves mankind with?
I cannot lose time allowing the discouragement that my brother or sister causes to distract me from loving them steadfastly. I cannot afford to let their pride get in the way of my genuine development of character. I cannot allow my pride to keep me from seeing their point of view.
So instead, I’ll practice thinking the thoughts that the Lord has towards me.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:11-14
Peace. Future. Hope. This is what the Lord declares over me. He promises to hear me, to be found by me when I choose to seek Him. He’s ready to rescue me from exile, from this trial. He hears my cry, and turns toward me as I seek Him. Hallelujah, Amen!
And to cultivate steadfastness, I’ll think peace and future and hope for those who are causing me troubles. I’ll choose humility over what I think is right. Because Jesus would have it that way.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10
When you experience trials, I pray that you’ll have the experience of being restored by His gentle hand. May The Eternal confirm you in His WAY. May your heart be strengthened to stand in the fire. And in the process, may you be established in His pure, perfect love.