Putting God to the Test
In one way or another we have probably all suffered as Christians. For some it may be dealing with family denial, for others rejection by friends, and even others the evils of the world. We all can relate to the battles before us.
So what does God say about these suffering times? Apostles James and Paul wrote to encourage Christians, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulations produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Here we see tests of our faith through trials as Christians, all which glorify God producing patience, helping us attain His character, and aiding us in full assurance of our faith counted joy.
Wow, that’s a lot to consume, right! Well take a moment to absorb Job’s tribulations. Did he not experience some of the worst sufferings in the Bible? Think how it would feel if boils covered your body from head to foot, you lost all your children, and you lost almost all your possessions instantly? Throughout his life, he exemplified dealing with affliction. We learn from Job’s actions during hardships that there is an opportunity to apply and draw out strength, endurance, longsuffering, patience, steadfastness in prayer, and increased faith that all lead to glorifying the Father. As a result of Job’s endurance, God rewarded him twofold (Job 42:10).
Additionally, the apostle Peter also added insight regarding suffering: “If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter...but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:16, 13). Peter understood the meaning of suffering as a dedicated follower of Christ. He knew suffering was reason for joy, and he rejoiced because it glorified the Father.
When applying this foresight in our lives, should we not reflect on the rewards of joy and glorifying God after every tribulation? Thus, following Job and Peter’s faith, let us again reexamine the times of hardship in our lives and strive for the wonderful application of patience, joy, glorification, and assurance God has instilled in each one of us.