James 1:2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
I don't neccesarily like being tested. I was not a good test taker in school and I avoid tests at all costs. But....James in the above scripture tells me and you the need for and end result of testing, or as some translations label them "trials!' James goes on to tell us that this "testing" is a testing of our faith. He says "when" your faith is tested. So there is a need for testing and it produces something. On further in the verse James says our endurance or faith has a chance to grow. "So you say there's a chance?" (ala Dumb and Dumber) . The only difference is "there IS a chance.." In time we will get through the testing and in verse 4 James says to "let it grow" meaning our faith. I may not like testing, but I do need my faith to grow. In Hebrews 11:6 scripture pretty much seals the argument that there is a need for all believers to grow in their faith and that it pleases God. Hebrews 11:And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
James also says that we have an opportunity for great joy when we encounter testing and troubles. So at the beginning of troubles or testing we should know right up front that the end result is going to have our growth in the mix. We will have troubles but the end result of weathering those troubles will not only be a sustaining faith, but a growing faith. When I was serving at First Baptist Church in West Plains, Missouri the first time (1978-1983) I was watching a news cast about some things going on in San Fransisco, California. I made the comment "I'm glad I don't have to be a minister in that crazy area." Six months later I was living in the Bay Area after accepting the call to First Baptist Church, Pleasanton, California. I could not get over the desire to go minister in that church after we visited them and both Andra and I knew we were sunk and going there after our first interview. Sunk? It was one of the greatest group of believers to serve with in all of my ministry and our memories of that church and what God did there will be with us forever. What I took as a "tough" assignment ended up a wonderful area of growth in my faith, and it grew from there.
Remember, we are in life for the long haul and part of that long haul is consistent growth in our faith. We know that we grow through the study of God's Word, through prayer, and through interaction with other believers, but that growth is stimulated and given a good ole shot in the arm through testing or trials. I consider it pure joy that I ministered for four years in a place I didn't want to go to. I couldn't see all the good from this side of it, but because of FAITH and the growth of that faith I experienced a blessing. You are no different from me so keep a positive attitude about your testing and let the growth in faith have it's full
work. You won't regret it!!
The Pilgrimage continues....