“Dear brothers, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” — James 1:2-4
I recently read a story of a father who wanted to teach his son the value of enduring trying times and difficult days. He placed three pots of water on the stove and brought them to a boil. In the first pot he placed several carrots. In the second he placed an egg. In the third pot he placed several tea bags.
After several minutes, he removed the contents of each pot and called his son over to see the effects of the water. The father said, “Son, these carrots went in hard and came out soft. Trials can soften our resolve to walk with the Lord. Don’t let hard times soften your commitment.”
Then the father pointed to the egg. “Son,” the father said, “this egg went in soft and came out hard. Trials can cause us to harden our hearts to the promptings of God in our lives. Don’t harden your heart to God when difficult times come your way.”
Finally, the father turned to the tea bags. He explained to the son that the tea bags had changed the water…given it a different taste. He said, “Son, the hot water brought out what was inside the tea bags. What was inside the bags changed everything around them. Son, as Christians, we must be like these tea bags. Our relationship with Christ must influence everything around us. Be like the tea bags!”
When we are tested and tried, we need to look into the event as well as beyond the event. We must keep our gaze on the Lord and our glance on our circumstances. We must keep our heart and mind open to God and listen for His voice in each and every circumstance. If our trial is a consequence of some neglect or sin in our life, we must change our behavior if we expect God to take care of us. If suffering or sickness occurs through no fault of our own, we can count on God’s grace to sustain us. Whatever comes into our lives brings with it an opportunity to grow into Christ likeness.
Trials never leave us where they find us. They can either draw us closer to God or drive us further from Him. In these days, God is challenging all of us to draw near to Him. I choose to let my trials make me better…not bitter! How about you?