Summary: These principles from James 1 will help us keep the faith when trials come.
Recently, Addie Zierman wrote an article on“Five Churchy Phrases that are Scaring Off Millenials.” This age group currently in their 20's objects to statements that appear insincere or dishonest. One of the statements that doesn’t pass the “sniff test” with them is the statement that they sometimes hear in church,” God will never give you more than you can handle.” They have experienced times when it seems trials are too much to bear.
There are times that trials come in heavy waves. We sometimes feel like we’re trying to hold our ground during a hurricane.
Does the Bible ever promise that God will not give us more than we can bear? Perhaps this statement assumes that the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13 applies to trials, limiting them to a level that fits within our expectations. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Frankly, there are times that trials nearly overwhelm us. In our lives the past two years have included our son-in-law’s cancer diagnosis, a bicep tear and surgery, a robbery, and numerous other difficulties. We have struggled with the progression of Parkinson’s disease requiring Kim’s dad to be in full time medical care for the past eight months. Just last week her dad’s struggle ended and he is now with his heavenly Father.
Trial upon trial. We learned a long time ago never to tell the Lord that you have reached the end of your endurance. Such statements do not guarantee that the time of testing has been completed.
When we think “God wouldn’t give us any more,” se must remember two important truths. The first is that other Christians have had to endure much more sever trials. The second is that we have NO WAY OF KNOWING if another GREATER trials is looming tomorrow!
There are WORDS we DON’t WANT to HEAR
Will God allow you to have more TRIALS than you can bear??
We KNOW that God has promised to sustain us, but
we don’t know how much trial will enter our lives.
TRIALS come upon us to REVEAL what is in our hearts.
“Trials” = “These are testings in the active sense of experiences that prove a person’s intentions” Kurt A. Richardson, James, vol. 36, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997), 59
In our study thus far we have observed that the theme of James = “Keep the Faith”
This theme is more than a consolation for Christians experiencing hardships.
It is a reminder to STAY FAITHFUL when trials come.
HOW do we KEEP The FAITH when TRIALS COME?
1. View Trials as God Intended Them.
a. James encouraged them to embrace their trials not for what they were but for what God could accomplish through them Kurt A. Richardson, James, vol. 36, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997), 58.
b. This is what allows us to “Consider it Joy? Note that James write “All joy.” Trials “should produce joy that is full or unmixed, not just “some joy” coupled with much grief.” J. Ronald Blue, “James,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 820. \
c. Illus - 3 year old Trevor was having fun using the icing bag to decorate a cake for his parents anniversary. His mother asked him what the squiggles were that he was writing. “I’m writing Happy Adversity on your cake momma!” (David McCasland, Our Daily Bread, 3/4/04)
2. Trials are the Path to a Stronger Faith
a. J B Phillips Translation, “Don’t resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends.”
b. Trials are only friends if our goal is to be like Jesus. If our goal is to avoid difficulties or mishaps, our trials will seem more like intruders. (Our Daily Bread)
c. “When a man is tested, it is his readiness to commit himself wholly to God which is on trial” TDNT Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 25.
d. Key passages:
i. Romans 5:2–5 (ESV) — 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.