If I were to chart out my Christian walk it would surely look more like a rollercoaster ride than a straight progression upward towards a godly sanctification. My Christian walk is just a series of ups and downs. I will never stay up just as likely as I will never stay down. It’s those down times that really force me to ask the “Why” questions in life. It can be relatively easy to navigate the “ups” in life but those “down” times force me to question myself, my faith, and my decisions. That’s why this thanksgiving I’m thankful for trials.
I’ve always felt that it was a bit unrealistic to dive into a trial with thankfulness. Let’s face it; trials stink. No one likes to experience the waves of grief after loosing a loved one. It’s really no fun to be stuck in the lows of having bad health. It’s hard to find joy when your family members are struggling. Truthfully, each disappointment in life deserves its own acknowledgement of just plain hurt.
The very first thing that James writes in his letter is to tell us that we should rejoice when trials come (James 1:1). Why? Because of its import. Trials actually serve a real purpose. They come into our lives for a reason. Peter tackles this same subject in 1 Peter 1:6-9:
In both these passages we see reason to be thankful for trials. Consider trials “pure joy.” Why? Because trials make us stronger. Peter in particular makes this very clear. Trials actually grow and prove our faith.
Ultimately, we all deal in circumstances that are beyond our control. On July 27, 2013 I never expected that my family would be forced into the greatest trial any of us had ever faced. When I woke up that morning I never imagined that July 27th at a small KFC in Michigan I would see my brother and sister-in-law for the last time on earth. And yet I am thankful for this trial. Many in the world don’t understand why I would be thankful for trials. It’s true that I hurt and I grieve but yet I can still rejoice in trial. God has my back. He loves me and he even promised His plans for me would be good: “’For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.‘” (Jeremiah 29:11). As I look back at the trial I’ve been placed in I can rejoice as I see how God has grown my faith just as He promised He would.
Life comes with ups and downs. Many times it seems like there is more reason to rejoice in the ups than the downs but just the opposite is true. It is in the downs that we are forced to grow closer to God as we ask the “why” questions. On your own spiritual rollercoaster ride consider this truth: Being thankful, eventually, is the key to contentment and spiritual growth.
Posted by Caleb