Trials and tribulations have the power to either keep us from abundant life or produce in us a character that sustains abundant life. The choice is up to us. Will our faith remain steadfast in the face of trouble or will we abandon the lifestyle of faith for one of the world?
James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Allow the phrase, “Count it all joy” to settle in for a second. What trials have you faced in the past? What trials stand before you today? Is joy the emotion that stirs up within you when you think about your problems?
My first instinct in the face of trial is to run. I long to abandon the problems before me, to act as if they don’t exist. But Scripture commands me to count my trials as joy and run at them head-on for the sake of being transformed into a faith-filled, steadfast child of God. God sees trials as a chance to produce character within me, not as a circumstance intended to harm me or derail his plans for my life.
The greatest gift we’ve been given in the face of trials is faith. When problems are staring at us head-on it’s hard to see around them to the beneficial outcome God intends. In order to face trials the way God intends, we must have faith. We have to believe that God has an outcome as beneficial as the trial is hard. We have to have faith that God will see us through every problem that stands in our way and produce in us a steadfastness on which we can experience abundant life.
Hebrews 10:35-39 says, “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” May we not be a people who shrink back but stand on the firm ground of God’s promises. May we be believers filled with a faith founded on the faithfulness of God.
Spend time in prayer allowing God’s word to fill you with a fresh perspective about your trials and tribulations.
Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:
- Critique the relationship between confidence as described in the VBM and good decision making.
- Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
- Prepare a discussion post that answers the following questions:
- What trials or tribulations have you or are now experiencing in your life? Please explain your response.
- What advice would you give to a friend who is going through some trial or tribulation? Please explain your response.
- Your initial post should be 200 – 300 words long and is due by the fourth day of the workshop.
- Respond in writing to two of your classmates.
- Each written response should be 100 – 200 words in length and demonstrate a critical analysis of your classmate’s post.
- These responses are due by the end of the workshop.