– Rick Warren
Determining Our Faithfulness
God will sometimes use trials to see if we will remain faithful to Him. Jesus was speaking to His disciples at the last meal before He went to the cross, and at the Passover Meal He said, “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:28-30). Jesus had trials, too, just like us, but the question is will we remain faithful to Him in our trials, or will we bail out at the first sign of trouble?
James knew that many were experiencing severe trials, but these problems had a purpose behind them. He wrote that we should “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3). We should then “let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4), meaning that problems work in us to complete us and perfect us to be more like Christ.
The psalmist knew a lot about afflictions, and he apparently knew why God allowed some of them, as he wrote, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71). Therefore, these afflictions made him learn more about God’s statutes. Where can we find God’s statutes? We find them in the Bible, as he says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Psalm 119:67).
God will allow problems for different purposes of His, and sometimes a problem will be for the purpose of perfecting us. No, we’ll never be perfect this side of heaven, but Paul saw every problem as an opportunity for God to work in us, as he wrote, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Rom. 5:3-4). God never wastes any problem but will use them all for our own good (Rom. 8:28).
God will not waste anything that we experience in life, and this includes problems. He may want to determine how faithful we will be, He may want to build our steadfastness, He may be using a problem to correct us and send us to His Word, or He may use a problem to perfect us. Whatever the case may be, God has a purpose behind every problem. Not one is ever wasted.