“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” – James 1:2-3 (NLT)
Faith needs to be challenged in order to grow. Much like a muscle, a demand must be placed on it over and over again so that it can grow in its capacity to carry greater and greater weight.
One of my favorite books about faith is Phil Pringle’s Faith: Moving the Heart and the Hand of God.In it Pastor Phil says, “The trial of faith deals with patience and doubt.” Many times we fail to persevere through the testing of our faith because we feel it’s not happening quick enough or because, with the passing of time, we start to lose the hope we once had that what God said will actually happen. We become jaded or shift into indifference as a coping mechanism to avoid disappointment. But James says to consider these moments an opportunity for great joy!
Staying in faith despite a challenge or a setback gives our endurance an opportunity to grow. This means that the more we’re made to wait, the better we’ll be at waiting. Hebrews 6:12 tells us that faith and patience inherit the promises of God. If I’m going to be a recipient of the promises of God, I need to get good at waiting. When my faith is tested, I get good at waiting. I learn patience. I learn the “other half” of how to inherit the promises of God.
It’s hard when every piece of evidence you see in the natural is telling you the trouble you’re in won’t end well. But this is precisely the moment to rise up in your faith – your ability to trust in, rely on and adhere to Jesus – and to know that God can and will carry you to the other side of any storm you find yourself in. But you’ve got to have faith!