This Will Not Be Wasted
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:1-4 (NIV)
Trials Reveal Authenticity
There was a day that God allowed Satan to put Job through a trial. A trial is a formal examination that aims to reveal what is actual. Job’s faith in God was put on trial by Satan. And what was the outcome? Job’s faith was revealed as authentic (Job 1:22; Job 2:10).
Years later, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, fasted for 39 days and at the end of the 40th day, Satan came to Jesus to put Him on trial. Satan put Jesus’ trust in His Heavenly Father through a formal examination, and in the end the faithfulness of Jesus was revealed as immovable (Matt. 4:10).
Testing Reveals What Is Lacking
A person’s true vocabulary comes out when they accidentally smash their finger with a hammer or in a car door. Similarly the realities of my heart and the truth about my faith will be revealed by trials. This can be a scary thing, but this also can be a wonderful thing. The point of any test is to reveal what is lacking. If a car in the factory goes through certain tests, it can reveal what is lacking so that the car can be ready for the road. If a student goes through certain tests, it can reveal what is lacking so that student can be ready for his or her career. The follower of Jesus will face certain tests to reveal what is lacking. God’s aim is that nothing will be lacking in your faith; that is, that nothing will be lacking in your relationship with Him. What a wonderful thing it is when what is lacking is revealed so that maturity and completion might take place.
Let Nothing Be Wasted
On one occasion, Jesus fed 5,000 men from a little boy’s lunch box. Jesus told His disciples to have this great crowd of people sit down on the grass. Then Jesus gave thanks and fed everyone who was there that day with five small barley loaves and two small fish. Once everyone was full, consider what Jesus says next:
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” -John 6:1-12 (NIV)
You will experience trials. Not if but when. A false understanding of God teaches that people of faith will never be sick or poor; that true children of God can secure health and wealth for their family. But the truth is that very faith-filled people experience loss; dearly loved children of God face trials of many kinds. You will experience trials. Not if but when.
John 6 reminds us that Jesus will not let anything be wasted. This does not mean that He causes all of our troubles, but He is sovereign over them. He is a God who will not let anything be wasted. Whatever troubles you’re facing right now, it will not be wasted. Whatever battle you find yourself in today, it will not be wasted. Whatever pain you’re experiencing in your life, it will not be wasted. God sees what you’re going through. God intends to deepen your faith, and He will not let anything be wasted.
Brave Patience Results In Blessing
Brave patience, which the Bible refers to as perseverance, has a work to do in God’s people. With every trial we face comes an opportunity to be brave in Jesus’ name and to be patient in Jesus’ name.
We remember the brave patience of Job and the blessing that followed (James 5:11). Job experienced the compassion, the mercy and the closeness of God Almighty like he never could have apart from His suffering.
And we look to the brave patience of our Lord Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV). Now we too can confidently face each trial with brave patience. God will not waste your trials. He will reveal what is authentic in your faith. He will reveal what is lacking in your faith. He will give opportunity for brave patience to do its work in you. He will provide moments where, if we look to Him, we will experience more of His mercy, more of His comfort, more of His presence. There is such joy when we draw near to God and He draws near to us. There is great joy in taking our focus off the temporary things of this life and setting our minds on the undying things of eternal life. There is great joy in remembering the crown of life promised by our good, good, Heavenly Father, whom we love.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. -James 1:12 (NIV)