I have never liked tests. Whether in an academic setting, a medical evaluation, or a test of one’s courage while being stranded on a remote mountain lake, testing is rarely pleasant. But I must admit that testing is often necessary for building character.
My hunting partner John and I had saved all year to be able to afford our 1996 Alaska Caribou/Bear hunt. But shortly after our bush plane dropped us off at the small lake in front of our camp, John began to have trouble breathing. It seems that the molds and fungi surrounding our area had activated some old allergy problems. He quickly became weak and needed to be evacuated. On top of everything else, a heavy storm began to bludgeon our little tent and pelt our equipment with branches.
Periodically, I left camp to survey the area for game. But it seemed that the foul weather had even caused the animals to hide out. Our supplies were limited and most of our matches were wet. Despite efforts to medicate John’s asthma, he became weak and fearful.
Finally, we placed a distress signal on the ground and hailed down a small plane. The pilot was able to contact our operator and within hours he picked us up. After landing at the lodge, the proper medicine, shelter, and grub soothed us both.
The Refinement of Trials
Trials have a way of refining and perfecting our faith. God sends trials to the righteous, for it causes them to grow rich in the things of the Lord. If we believe that everything is under God’s control and divine guidance, then our trials like our blessings are traceable to His providence. As beautiful as a rose is, it grows among thorns. There cannot be a rainbow without a storm. Most of us cannot find that 6×6 bull elk without the rigors of a long hike in the woods.
The grand ole preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, gives us some insight about trials:
One may drown in seas of prosperity as well as in rivers of affliction. Our mountains are not too high, and our valleys are not too low for temptations. Trials lurk on every road. Everywhere, above, and beneath, we are beset and surrounded with danger. Yet no shower falls unprompted from the threatening cloud. Every raindrop has its orders before it falls. The trials that come from God are sent to prove and strengthen our graces. They illustrate the power of divine grace to test the genuineness of our virtues and add to their energy.
Dear friend, know that nothing touches us that is unknown by our Heavenly Father. The Apostle James reminds us that, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The next time you encounter a test or trial of any kind, apply James 1:2-3 to that trial. Additionally, pray and ask God what He wants you to experience
through this trial.
Wendell Morton and Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5