Has your faith ever been tested? Throughout my life, there have been occasional seasons where, deep in my heart, I have wondered if I really believe what I say I believe. Often, these moments spring up in my heart during a challenging time. Hard circumstances have a way of surprising us and showing us what we really believe.
Biblical Examples Of Struggling With Faith
Sadly, church history is full of examples of people who seemed to believe and yet, when a trial came, they turned away from faith in Christ. This would have been Judas Iscariot’s testimony. He turned his back on a faith he once claimed as his own. When Jesus said one of them would betray him, they didn’t all point to Judas. He had fooled them and possibly even fooled himself.
It’s not surprising that the Bible often calls us to persevere in the faith and warns us about shrinking back in times of trial and testing.
The Gift Of Trials
But why does God allow these trials to come in the first place? Why would God let us experience something that could lead us to turn away from him? The New Testament book of James helps us with this important question:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
One of the reasons God allows his children to go through trials is that testing our faith has positive effects in our hearts and souls. James mentions steadfastness leading to complete perfection as one of the benefits of enduring trials.
Trials purify us and show us what we really believe deep down. Too many people think they believe a particular truth when they really don’t. Human beings are very susceptible to self-deception.
This creates two equally dangerous problems. First, it’s a problem if we really don’t believe, but we think we do. It’s also a problem if we really do believe, but we don’t enjoy assurance that our faith is the real thing.
And so God graciously gives us the gift of trials.
When we go through difficult circumstances and continue to believe and trust in Jesus, it is strong evidence our faith is genuine. When we doubt, we can reflect back on these same trials, thank God for sustaining us through them, and remember we stood strong in our faith.
Gaining Confidence In Christ
We can be thankful for our trials because once we’ve passed through them, we have tangible evidence of our faith. In this way, our trials do us a great service in giving us confidence we are not just fooling ourselves, but really believe in Christ.
The famous 19th-century preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, summed up this principle well, “I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.”
Trials are never fun, but it’s helpful to know that God is working through them. One of the ways he is working is to assure his children of the true faith he has planted in their hearts. And so we can say with James, “Thank you, Lord, for your blessings and for your trials.”
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