Is There a Test Today?
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. — James 1:2–4
Trials. The Bible doesn’t tell us that trials may happen; it tells that trials are a sure thing. How can we have joy when we face difficult times, when our season is 0–5, when parents are angry that their child sits on the bench, or when our assistants question our every move? How can we be content when we face all of this?
We can be content because we know that God is accomplishing good things in our difficulties. James teaches us that trials produce endurance and strong character. It is only through experiencing the pain of hardship what we learn not to give in to discouragement. Coaches are always urging their players to train for the sake of endurance. That’s why God puts us through rigorous training, as well. We can trust that He is using our hardships to make us stronger believers. Jesus was the greatest example of someone who endured hardship, and unlike us, he did not fall under temptation during his difficulties.
Joy is not happiness; it is hope. We can have hope in our lives because of our Lord Jesus Christ, the hope that gives us the strength to endure the trials that will come our way. As we face trials, we can be joyful because from this we are able to grow up in our faith, and this growth will turn us even more toward God. We do well to remember that without consistent pressure and heat, a lump of coal will never become a diamond.
1. Do you often place your athletes in difficult situations? Why? How might this relate to today’s verse?
2. Have you ever endured a painful hardship? What were the positive outcomes?
3. Why is it so hard to see trials in a positive light while we are going through them?
Extra Reading: Romans 5:1–5; Ephesians 3:20–21
Lord, give us the strength to endure our trials. But also give us the ability to look to You for guidance and a time to learn. Thank You for giving us hope. Amen.