I have had the amazing opportunity to speak to college students this week about the work God can do in a person's life. One thing I think many in my generation look upon with awed wonderment is how the Lord can work in a person's life. Many of the younger "millennials" have known little discomfort, little hardship, and have had little opportunity to truly place their faith in the One they declare is Lord of their lives. So when difficulty arises, when hardships need to be faced and overcome, many are left wondering just how the faith-in-action thing works. How does one "let patience have her perfect work?" in the midst of trials however big or small? And the often unasked and therefore unanswered question becomes 'Will God really be faithful and come through for me?'
The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I begin to understand why the Lord placed books in the Bible such as James which speak about trials and why they are so needful in our lives. The first eight verses of James highlight the "trial cycle," if you will. Right off, in verse 2 we are told to count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations. All temptations, everything in this life, is an opportunity to try your faith and for that reason alone we can count it all joy. Because along with the testing of your faith, trials will grow you and, as so often is quoted, will produce patience. We are then to let patience have her perfect work in us while going through trials. If you lack wisdom to know how to do just that, we are told to ask for it in faith, nothing wavering, for the man that wavers is double minded and unstable.
This trial cycle is not "fun," it's not "comfortable," and it's not "easy" and many wonder whether it really works. Does God really come through? Do trials really produce patience and beneficial attributes in me? Will the Lord really give me wisdom in how to walk through them? My answer from personal experience is yes, absolutely yes. And though it has taken me a long time to see it and I will undoubtedly continue to learn this lesson, I can honestly say I am thankful for the "trials" and "temptations" the Lord has brought me through. Because through them He has grown me, He has shown me that He is and always will be faithful, and He has proven that He can be trusted. Never underestimate the power of the Lord in your life - even through the hardest times.