Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12 ESV
Everyone has tests and trials. But how we respond to these difficult times in our lives says a lot about our relationship with God. The book of Job began with the words,
There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil (Job 1:1 NLT).
Anyone who has watched a lot of movies or read a lot of fiction knows that any piece of work that begins in this way is setting the scene for something bad to happen.
By the end of the first chapter, Job’s tests and trials had begun. He had lost almost everything: all his flocks, ten children, and most of his servants. In response to his calamity, Job worshipped (Job 1:20).
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21 NKJV
But Job’s tests and trials didn’t end there. The enemy inflicted Job with painful boils from head to toe (Job 2:7). His wife’s response probably represents what many of us would say,
“Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9 NKJV
But Job remained steadfast. “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” Job 2:10 NKJV
Job never understood that all of his issues were an attack from the enemy but in all his lamenting, he remained faithful to God. When we read the book of Job, we do so knowing how it will end. We know that God is going to restore him twofold. We know that he will have ten more children (Job 42:12-13).
But Job didn’t.
Job faced the trial of what he believed was God’s anger against him while maintaining that he was innocent of any transgression. Job faced his trial by fire with dignity and integrity.
The purpose of tests and trials
As we saw in the book of Job, God allows trials and tests to strengthen our faith. It’s easy to love God and believe that He is good when everything is going our way. It’s not so easy to continue to believe in God’s faithfulness when they don’t.
Throughout the book of Job, the Hebrew word tummâh, (pronounced toom-maw’) is used to represent Job’s integrity. Tummâh could also mean innocence. Job maintained his innocence before God even in the worst circumstances.
My friend, how do you respond to the tests and trials of life? Do you continue to worship God? Or do you complain and blame God for all that has gone wrong in your life?
Regardless of how you have responded or tribulations in the past, today is an opportunity to respond in a new way. Let us learn from Job who worshipped in response to trial (Job 1:20).
Let us learn from David who sang praises to God when he was afflicted (Psalm 119:71). Let us take our tests and trials by fire and turn them into opportunities to give glory to God.
Lord, this life can sometimes be difficult. The issues of life are pressing in on every side but I am not crushed. I am perplexed by many of the things that happen but I thank You that I am not in despair. I have been persecuted by the enemy but You, my God, have not forsaken me. I have been struck down but I praise You that I am not destroyed. Father, thank You for the victory that is mine if I just press through this difficult time. In Your name, I pray, Amen.
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