I recently attended a funeral of two great saints of God. Each had lived very long lives. One had lived to an age of 100 years and the other to an age of 106. The reflection was not on the trials and testing that each of these saints had endured, but on the blessings they both had received and given through the Christian legacy that they had instilled in their children and grandchildren. But one cannot reflect upon the blessings without realizing that behind the blessings were many trials and testing along the way that had produced spiritual maturity and longevity.
James speaks of this in James chapter one, "My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various temptations (various trials); Knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience (endurance)." (James 1:2-3) Trials and testing are external and are either brought our way by God, or allowed by God to produce spiritual maturity in our lives. We can all attest to some kind of testing or trial at some point in our lives. The cycle of trials and testing revolves around three phases of life. 1) You have gone through a trial recently, or 2) you are now in a trial, or 3) you are headed for a trial that will test your faith in the near future. The testing may come through relationships, physical health, loss of a job, finances, or other external elements that weigh us down and may even bring about depression and withdrawal if we do not properly deal with the trials and testing in our life.
The reason that many Christians become overwhelmed when trials and testing come our way is because we lack wisdom and faith. James 1:5-6 tells us "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally.But let him ask in faith" We become overwhelmed by the trial and testing when we fail to recognize God's perspective of the trial and testing in our life. The word "wisdom" here in verse 5 means the lack of seeing God's perspective in the trial I am experiencing. The reason we fail to see God's perspective in the trial and testing is because we lack wisdom and faith to trust the work of God in our lives, which will ultimately bring about spiritual maturity and a lasting spiritual legacy that replicates itself in the lives of those we influence over a lifetime and beyond.
Pastor Randy Mason
When we lack faith we become as verse 8 indicates, "a double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8) A double minded man is one who wants both his way and God's way at the same time. We often want what God wants, which is spiritual maturity, but we also want what we want, which is freedom from all trials and testing in our life. When the trials are unrelenting and God seems to be silent we at times lose hope (faith) because instead of seeing the trial as an opportunity for God to work His good pleasure and prerogative in my life, which will produce spiritual maturity, we instead become depressed, despondent, disillusioned and soon stop praying, reading our bible, going to church, fellowshipping with fellow believers, praising and worshipping God-we just quit.
In times of trials and testing when all of heaven seems to be silent and God does not seem to be working in your life remember that the purpose for the test is to move you toward spiritual maturity where God can use you for a greater task down the road. I have taken many "tests" since my days in elementary school, high school, college and graduate school, but never did the teacher, or professor talk, or lecture during the test. The period of testing was silent, intense, reflective, personal, for a limited time and ultimately it's intent was to produce more knowledge, skill and maturity in the subject matter of which I was being tested. The reward ultimately came on graduation day. When you sense God's silence during the test or trial of your life remember that during the test you must exercise wisdom and faith in what God has already revealed to you through His Word (the bible). The result of faithfully enduring the trial is found in verse 12. "Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." (James 1:12)
For those who endure the trials of life two things take place. One takes place in this life and the other in heaven. In this life if we endure the trial through faith and wisdom God will pour out blessings along the way. God will not always be silent. Remember there was a time in Josephs life when God was silent, a time in Abrahams life when God was silent, a time in Moses' life when God was silent, and a time in the Apostle Paul's life when God was silent because God was putting them through the test and trial to grow their faith and move them on to greater tasks in life. God will do the same for each believer who will faithfully endure the trials and testing of life.
In times of trials and testing never quit, never despair, never blame God, but endure the hard times knowing that God will grant both blessings and a crown of life to those who "let patience (endurance) have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:4)