Have you ever received a gift you didn’t like? Or maybe you hated it? Maybe you even returned it, exchanged it or re-gifted it. I have. And I’m guilty of returning, exchanging, and re-gifting.
God is the Ultimate Gift Giver. We don’t recognize how good the gifts are and mostly we take them for granted. Sadly, we don’t think much about His gifts.
Some of God’s greatest gifts are disguised as trials.
James tells us to “consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds”. The Message Bible says “consider it a sheer gift.”
Trials, tests, and challenges are gifts? How can a tragedy be a gift? How can we consider it pure joy to experience incredible pain?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (NIV)
The Message says it this way:
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
And Peter had this to say:
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…. I Peter 1:6-8 (NIV)
James and Peter agree that faith under pressure is for your good. The pain has a purpose. Trials make your faith bigger, purer, and stronger. With a bigger faith you will touch more people with His love. But you have to “let it do its work.”
How do you do that?
• Let God hold you. He is with you and will never leave you. When the pain feels overwhelming, let Him comfort you.
• Seek counsel from those who love and follow God wholeheartedly. If you are receiving counsel from anyone that tells you anything contrary to God’s Word or causes you to feel more anger – STOP.
• Grieve. Trials usually mean a loss of some kind. Even if it’s a loss of what “used to be”, it’s a loss. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel.
• Pray for vision. To see the trial for what it really is. Your most painful experiences can be the most transforming…..the most liberating……the most life giving.
• Rejoice. Even when you don’t understand or when you doubt. Even when it hurts. Praise Him.
I’m walking through a trial. It’s been devastating and at times, the pain so deep I wanted to die. God is holding me close and giving me the strength and courage to move forward. God is revealing hidden places in my heart and healing me. He is changing me. The process is messy, but God is doing His work so that I will be mature and complete and I’m praising Him through it.
I understand that this didn’t happen TO me, it happened FOR me.
Thank you, Abba Father.
Thank you for the gifts that I would have never chosen.
Thank you for your relentless love.