In James letter to the church, he encourages the Christians he is writing to, to ‘consider it pure joy whenever they face trials of many kinds’’ I think that there are two main reasons for giving thanks when we are facing trials. The first we looked at yesterday, the reason James himself gives. We thank the Lord because He will use the time of difficulty to do good things in us.
The second reason for being thankful for the trials is, I believe, because any trial that we face causes us to call on the Lord for His help. And so it becomes an opportunity to discover more about who God is, and who He wants to be for us, on our journey through life.
In some ways it’s very obvious. For example I will never know or prove that God is My Wonderful Provider, unless I need Him to provide for me. Abraham found this out Genesis 22:14. when, at a time of great testing, God provided a ram for him to sacrifice in place of his only son.
Throughout the bible we see how people discovered the character and nature of God through their times of challenge. David clearly proved God in his shepherding days and that became His testimony Psalm 23. When he was on the run from Saul, God became his ‘high tower’ Psalm 144 : 2 and his ‘refuge’ Psalm 27 : 1.
When we’re in trouble we read, to encourage ourselves, all that God did for the heroes of faith. We find a parallel in their stories to our own, and it releases faith in our hearts to reach out to God for ourselves. Hagar Genesis 16 : 13 discovered God to be the ‘one who sees’ when it felt like no one else was looking or caring. How wonderful is that,? – to know, that when we are in a time of trial that no one else fully sees or understands, God does.
I love the King James translation of 2 Chronicles 16 : 9 ‘The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards Him’. The Lord wants to be more than a story in a book to us, He wants to actively come into our situations and show Himself to be our El Shaddai, our God All Mighty.
In our trials, God is not making us suffer, in order to demonstrate His glory, but if the enemy sends us a trial, or if life throws up some difficulties, we can thank the Lord, even sometimes in our brokenness, because we will then be able to ‘know’ more of God. Know who He is, His love for us and His power in our lives in a way, may be, that no other circumstance would allow.
Every one of His names denotes something of our Lords character. So as you face your next difficulty, thank Him, draw close to Him, realising that this could be a moment or season in your life where you will find Him in a new way. Let us thank Him for our trials with the excitement and anticipation of what we are going to see the Lord do, and what He is going to demonstrate, to us of His amazing self.