Tried with Fire: Consider It All Joy

God has constantly placed His people in impossible situations, asking them to believe Him. He does the same with us.

We experience the discomfort of either a deficiency or a danger. We encounter a trial. When that trial comes, it gives us the opportunity to persist in believing God, often in spite of our circumstances. The trial is a chance to endure, and our endurance matters to God. We are most truly God’s people when we exhibit trust either by relying on Him through situations that appear to be impossible or by obeying Him when the cost of faithfulness is very high.

 

The temperature hovered in the nineties as the August sun beat down on the practice field. We had been running through a combination of calisthenics and drills in full gear for nearly two hours. This was our first two-a-day of the season. I’d thought I was in decent shape, but I was beyond tired. My field of vision was narrowing and my sight beginning to darken. There were moments when I couldn’t see anything at all. One teammate had already passed out on the field; I was afraid I might be next. While I was determined not to quit, I dreaded the possibility that my body might quit on me. Then, just as I thought that I was at the end of my endurance, the coach called a halt to the practice.

The next day I expected more of the same, but now I knew that I could make it to the end. I had already done it. When I felt the signs of increasing exhaustion—the wobbling legs, the burning lungs, the dimming vision—they did not surprise me. I knew that I could push through them, and I did. In fact, something remarkable happened. Even though we worked out just as hard the second day, the exhaustion wasn’t as bad. As one practice followed another I could do more and more while feeling less pain. Enduring actually produced greater endurance.

Much the same is true of afflictions. James, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, spoke of afflictions as trials or tests. He said that we should “consider it all joy…when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2, NASB). He did not say if we encounter various trials, but when or whenever.

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