– Warren Wiersbe
To Produce Steadfast Faith
A faith that has never been tested is a faith that cannot be trusted–at least yet! Part of the reason that God allows tests in our life is to see whether we will trust in Him or try to endure these tests in our own strength, but in the end, “the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:3). “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). Apparently, there’s a crown of life for those who endure great tests of faith. God allowed Israel to go through some hardships and gave them “manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you” (Deut. 8:16) and not that they would grow discouraged and give up.
Testing the Genuineness of Our Faith
Peter wrote about this in 1 Peter 1:7 saying that tests and trials are “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” God receives glory, praise, and honor by our enduring. Paul writes that “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame” (Rom. 5:3-5a).
To Refine Our Faith
About Israel, the psalmist writes, “God, tested us; you refined us like silver” (Psalm 66:10). Job understood that “when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). At the end of a Messianic prophecy about Jesus in Zechariah 13:9, it says “and I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested…And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.” This fire is not to destroy but to refine and make more precious than gold, as Peter wrote (1 Pet. 1:7), and through Isaiah, God says “I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10), which is similar to what Daniel wrote, that “many will be purified, made spotless and refined” (Dan. 12:10) in the latter days.
Every test, every trial, and every difficulty is not intended to break us but to shape us, form us, and make us into the image of the Son of God, as “he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Heb. 5:8), not that He was ever disobedient. Rather, what the author of Hebrews means is “becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8)!