– Edmund Clowney
The Testing of Your Faith
A faith that’s never been tested cannot be trusted. God allows trials in our lives so that He’ll know how strong or weak our faith is in Him. God doesn’t test us so that He’ll know but so that we’ll know. James says as much when he wrote to “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Our tested faith produces steadfastness, and when it’s had its full effect, we can be complete and lack nothing at all.
Sharing With Christ
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that we are to “share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3) and to “share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8b). So we should “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13). When we share in suffering for Christ, it is for the same desire that Paul had: so “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).
I am about the worst in waiting for appointments. I hate waiting. But God is trying to teach me to be more patient, and I can find out how to be more patient in the Word of God, the Bible. God says through Paul that “he will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Romans 2:6-7). Our patience will pay off someday when we inherit eternal life in Christ. Can’t I be more patient in knowing this? I would hope so. What about you?
Mr. Clowney’s advice that trials should not surprise us or cause us to doubt God’s faithfulness is true because God sends trials to strengthen our trust in Him. So let us allow our trials to show us the strength or weakness of our own faith, let us suffer with Christ to know Him better, and let us use trials to build patience, for one day (soon?) “he will give [us] eternal life.” Isn’t that worth going through trials?