For you know that when your faith is tested, your
endurance has a chance to grow.
Faith is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets; the less you use it, the weaker it becomes. James, the brother of Jesus tells us to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials. I don’t know about you, but this is a message I need to hear over and over again. Naturally, trials don’t feel good. So the point is to see beyond the trial for the intended purpose of the trial. Take pregnancy…there is both pain and joy. The pain of labor produces the joy of a child. Women everywhere would agree it’s worth it because they turn around and do it again. Trials are painful, but after you have gone through it, there is a gain of some kind.
Having a prodigal and waiting for them to return is at least one trial you are going through. We have already talked about how waiting is not passive. We know it is God’s will for us to pray and love them. There is more going on though. This trial has other implications. How we respond may affect someone else for good or not so good. It may affect our prodigal. God is wanting to teach us to flex our faith muscle. He wants our faith to get stronger.
Let’s say He wants to grow patience in you. You already possess the seed of patience and now He wants to grow it. It is a fruit that will only grow under some kind of trial. The root word in the Greek is hupone and it means to “remain under”. Or suppose He tests your faith (a trial) so you will be able to endure. Your faith is tried so it will grow stronger. And when your faith is stronger, your endurance has grown. You have gained endurance or patience or something else. Think of all the things that you have learned in this trial and in the waiting…persistence, dependency, trust, endurance, patience, to name a few! You are flexing your faith muscle!
We all want to be overcomers. We all want to be victorious. But many of us don’t want the trials. We don’t want anything to overcome or we don’t want anything in which to have victory over. The Bible says we are overcomers. The Bible tells us we have won the victory. And that means we will have trials.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer
loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute,
or in danger, or threatened with death? (or are waiting for our prodigal to return)
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
Romans 8:35,37 (NLT)
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And
this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 John 5:4 (ESV)
For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to
fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.
Deuteronomy 20:4 (NIV)
For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Proverbs 24:6 (NASB)
Trials develop us and train us to use our faith. Trials are what God uses to grow fruits of the Spirit that cannot grow any other way. Trials often will cause of to depend and trust God. So count it all joy!
We don’t need less problems, we need more strength.
We don’t need less opposition, we need more character.
Check out this video!