6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
I don’t think anyone likes going through trials. None of us, no one I know, starts in a new trial, test, or purification period and says, “Awesome, I am being tested!! I can’t wait to show God how strong my faith is.” No. Generally it’s something more along the lines of,
“Crap. I just got fired.”
“I have no money.”
“I just lost the use of my left arm which is kind of important for my work.”
“I just lost my business.”
“I have cancer.”
“My dad took my hammer and powers away.”
“The one person who I trusted most in this world is leaving me.”
You get the idea. Fill in your phrase here.
Maybe you’re different. Maybe you just read James and you are counting everything pure joy and nothing can bother you. Or maybe you have already been tested, and purified and you are absolutely perfect now in which case I would ask you to steer clear of me because there is a good chance a house is going to fall on your head, or at least your sister’s.
I guess what I am trying to say is that being tested sucks; bottom line. But, having been tested is awesome. When you come out of your valley and the shadows are all gone, the clouds clear away and you are left standing in the sun light. Nothing can touch you. It’s a wonderful feeling. You’ve learned to trust God. You’ve felt his power and his presence in your life. You’ve gone to war with God by your side. You’ve put on your suit of armor and you’ve fought hard. All you want to do is tell everyone of your victory. You see other people still mulling around in the valley of their triles and you want to reach down and pull them out. But you can’t. You can encourage, but not pull. You can lift up, but not lift out.
To those of you who have gone through your purification time I congratulate you. We in the valley salute you. I would caution you to not let pride drop you back in the valley, but you are wiser than that now. I would tell you to keep that suit of armor on and tighten your chin strap, but you already know this. And I would say do not spend too much time boasting of your victory, but I’m quite sure that you’ve already finished celebrating and are in deep prayer about your next step.
To the rest of you, my brothers and sisters in the wilderness, I offer encouragement. We will make it through this. We will come out on the other side of this stronger, and more dependent on God than ever. We will learn to keep our eyes on him. Our ears will be trained to decipher his voice from the other. The lies of Satan will drift into the background and will become but a whisper. You will have victory.
Yes, being tested sucks. But I would take being tested over being left alone any day of the week. I may want to stay off the radar at work, but I want to be a giant green blip on God’s radar.
Stay thirsty my friends.
Would you rather be tested and strengthen your faith, or be left alone by God?