The Four “J”s of Trials – The Joy of Trials? (part 6 of 6)

By Member Lawyer

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4.

Circling back to the scriptural genesis of this series, I felt compelled to also include verse four. The purposes of trials flow linearly to an end goal: faith testing → endurance → maturity and completeness. Awareness of these benefits can lessen the discomfort trials produce. So, too, can knowing what caused the trials in the first place.

While I never determined the reasons for my string of trial losses, I learned much from the inquiry. The “J” life stories revealed four trial cause prototypes.

Jonah is the obvious example of trial flowing from disobedience and defiance. His story reveals that God can use trials to bring people to repentance and restore broken relationships.

Job’s life confirms that trials are not always corrective or punitive, despite how insistent his friends were of such a conclusion. Job’s faith was impeccable and remained strong despite extreme testing.

Joseph had to be transformed from a somewhat immature Hebrew boy to a shrewd and God-empowered world leader. God used trials to accomplish that transformation, moving Joseph to the location where God needed him, growing Joseph into the person God needed him to be, so that Joseph could faithfully handle the task God needed him to do.

Joshua’s circumstances were the “collateral damage” of God’s judgment on the unfaithful nation of Israel. Nevertheless, Joshua’s faith grew (like Job) and his character and leadership skills developed (like Joseph) so that he could succeed Moses in leading the Hebrew people into the Promised Land.

The question “Am I out of God’s Will?” is worthy to frequently revisit. Indeed our circumstances may be a strong indicator of having deviated from God’s intended path. Yet, we must resist the mind set of Job’s friends who presumed that troubles necessarily prove God’s displeasure.

These four “J”s illustrate several primary causes for trials and demonstrate the important results that can flow therefrom. For those reasons, we can indeed consider each trial we face to be “a great joy”.

Trevor Neely
Author: Trevor Neely

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