Trials

Are You Prepared For The Tests Of Life?

Last Tuesday, strong winds ripped off tree limbs and knocked down whole trees to make life more challenging than usual. I told Ed that I expected to clean up an abundance of leaves, but my leaves were mostly swept away by the wind. Ed said that you couldn’t trust the wind, for every time the wind blows your leaves away, they will blowback to you even when your trees are bare. Ed observed, “In our age, there is little demand for a nice breeze to dry the wash on the clothesline.”

Ed believes that we, as Canadians, have lost our hardiness. He says that we need to embrace the forceful winds, scoff at the rain, hail, sleet, and snow. The sun’s blistering heat and arctic cold should be celebrated, not dismissed as a cause for air conditioners, and turning up the furnace. Ed advises us to endure, not to complain, or seek always to be comfortable. We need to be tough in everyday life challenges like soldiers on patrol in a land mine area.

For most of us, life isn’t about being comfortable but persevering through the challenges of our days or nights. A friend recently shared that his concentration often has holes in it. He goes to get something in the kitchen or laundry room, and when he gets there, he can’t remember what he wanted there. Students know about the pressure of getting along with demanding teachers, fickle friends, and parents’ rules. Everyone’s job is much more than clear sailing but navigating tides, rocks, and rapids.

As Christians, we face trials of many kinds. We can meet them with a joyful attitude or one of weary defeat. Ignoring tests at school won’t result in them disappearing or in a passing grade. Tests tend to humble us, put us on the spot, force us to find the right answers for ourselves, others, and before God. Correct answers may be evident or take time to sort out. God’s word may shed wisdom on our tests, or it may need to come from taking a step of faith.

God’s word confirms that facing many trials should not surprise us. James reminded early Christians, who had to scatter after Stephen’s death in Jerusalem, as far as Phoenicia, Cypress, and Syrian Antioch, that they should meet their challenges with pure joy. Trials such as they were facing were allowed by God to develop perseverance in their faith. They needed to become mature and more complete in their faith, which would come from going through many trials.

Like ourselves, the early Christians needed to react to the many challenges of life with trust or faith in God. It is easy to doubt when things are wrong and threatening. Sometimes we are confused and lack the wisdom to meet our challenges. James 1:5,6 assure us, “If any of you lacks wisdom. He should ask God, who gives generously to all… but when he asks, he must believe and not doubt.”

How difficult not to be doubting when we face various trials. Everyone can have tests that shake their trust in God. Persevering in our faith in God, no matter what, is Christian hardiness.  God calls and challenges us to find joy and maturity from our trials.

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Raymond Maher
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