The Bible talks alot about trials and suffering. In particular the Book of James says many things. In that Joshua is once again in the hospital, I was looking for a little wisdom this morning, so I was looking at the first few verses in James. Here’s what I found:
– James 1:2 – We should consider them joy.
– James 1:2 – They should be expected. The text says “when” not “if” they come.
– James 1:4 – They are necessary in order for us to become mature.
– James 1:5 – God will give wisdom about dealing with these trials to all those who ask.
But there’s something else. Could it be that these trials we find in all our lives also serve the purpose of bringing us into the true freedom of God? That’s from the Desiring God blog this morning:
“We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. (2 Chronicles 20:12)
Isn’t that a beautiful confession? It is so child-like in its humility and faith. It is, in fact, another Old Testament picture of the gospel. We are powerless to save ourselves. But when we look to God and call on him for deliverance from the impending judgment, he brings about a salvation beyond our wildest imagination.
The reason God orchestrated Jehoshaphat’s predicament is the same as his design in the tribulations and crises in our lives: he want us to increasingly find freedom from fear.
You see, real freedom is not the liberty to do what we want, or even the absence of distress. Real freedom is the deep-seated confidence that God really will provide everything we need. The person who believes this is the freest of all persons on earth, because no matter what situation they find themselves in, they have nothing to fear.
But the only way for sinners like us with a bent toward unbelief in God to find this kind of freedom is by experiencing repeatedly God’s delivering power and his faithfulness. That’s why we are to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds (James 1:2). They are making us free.
Pretty amazing to consider that God will put us in situations intentionally to wean us off of our own power, to deliver us from the sin of self-preservation and self-reliance. He does so to bring us into the freedom of what it means to truly trust. And rest.