A Short Course on the Significance of Suffering – Part Two

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”  James 1: 2, 3

When trusting the Lord there is much to be learned. Even adversity offers us advantages to learn. Out of struggle comes strength.

George Washington, the patient statesman, learned from the snows of Valley Forge.

Lincoln, the liberator, learned from his poverty.

Theodore Roosevelt, the disciplinarian, from his asthma.

Edison, the inventor, from his deafness.

Walter Chrysler, the genius, from the grease pits of a train roundhouse.

Sir Walter Scott, from his lameness.

Robert Louis Stevenson, the poet of pathos, from tuberculosis.

Helen Keller, our inspiring example, from her blindness.

Without suffering these would not stand out on history’s horizon like Mount Vesuvius on a lily pond, and we would be robbed of their greatness.

The certainty of trials is noted in the text by the word “when” not “if” trials come. They are undesirable, but inevitable for all.

Trials is the reference. The Greek word “peirasmos” translated as “trials” can also be properly translated “temptation.” When it relates to Satan, it always means an appeal to do evil. When associated with the Lord, it always means an occasion to prove one’s character and faith. 

Temptations come from Satan and are intended to bring out our worst.

Trials come from God and are intended to bring out our best.

This contrast is seen in James 1: 13, 14, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God;’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”        

During the time Moses was leading God’s people out of slavery it was written, “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.’”

Dan Jansen was anticipated to be a sure gold medalist skater in the Olympics, but he fell in two races. He was no quitter. His perseverance in his last race resulted in him winning his well deserved gold medal.

Some “trial,” some fall, may have robbed you of a golden moment. Failure or suffering of some type may have interrupted your life quest. Now is your opportunity to let the Lord use it to enable you to achieve what you could never have accomplished without it. In these moments of heartbreak we need to have on our cranial overhead projector, the words of I Corinthians 6: 20, “GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY.”