God Sends Trials Sometimes
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." (James 1:2-3)
Have you ever had a bad day? A really bad day? Hannah was having one of those days. First she missed her bus to school – so she had to call her mom to come and give her a ride to school. Hannah’s mom was not happy with her. Then when Hannah finally got to school, the popular girls made some jokes about the outfit she had decided to wear.
It was only 9 o'clock in the morning, and Hannah's day had already gone from bad to worse. She plopped down at her desk and sighed out a short, quiet prayer under her breath: “Lord, why don’t those girls like me? What am I doing wrong?”
With a long face and an upset stomach, Hannah opened her math book. It was time for class to begin. What Hannah didn’t realize was that her teacher, Mrs. Nofzinger, had been standing by the bulletin board and overheard her prayer.
After math class there was a short reading time. This was Hannah’s favorite time because she could bury her head in a book and forget about the rest of the class, especially those girls who liked to tease her.
That's why Hannah was disappointed when Mrs. Nofzinger asked her to go down to the water fountain during reading time and get some water for the classroom's plants. “Why me?" Hannah thought to herself. "Why not send one of the 'popular' girls – they probably don’t care about reading, anyway!”
Just another little thing to add to her list of stuff going wrong today. But she picked up the pitcher from the back of the room and walked down to the water fountain.
As she was walking back to her class, she could see Mrs. Nofzinger waiting for her in the hallway. She said, “Hannah, I would like to talk with you. Don’t worry – you aren’t in trouble.”
Taking the water pitcher out of Hannah's arms, Mrs. Nofzinger said softly, “Hannah, sometimes God puts us in situations that we don’t understand. And sometimes those situations can be hard to live through. I have the feeling that you know exactly what I mean – am I right?”
With tears starting to fill her eyes, Hannah nodded. Mrs. Nofzinger went on. "God is at work in every situation in our lives. He is with us during the good times and with us during the hard times. In fact,” she added, “God sometimes even sends difficult situations so that our faith can grow, and so that we can grow closer to Him.”
They talked for a few minutes, and then reading time was over. Before they went back into the classroom to water the plants, Hannah’s day had gotten a whole lot better. Her teacher had explained that if we have faith in God, it must grow. And the only way for faith to grow is for it to be tested. That is why James 1:2-3 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”
Now, you might be wondering how anyone could say that God was the One testing Hannah's faith. Weren't the "popular girls" teasing her and saying mean things? Yes, they were, and they will be held accountable to answer for their wrongdoing. But God is bigger than those girls, and He is in control. He could have shut up their mouths (like He did for Daniel in the lions' den) and stopped them from being cruel, but in Hannah's case, He chose to have her go through that hurtful experience on top of everything else that was "going wrong" with her day. Why? So she would grow stronger in dependence upon Him.
Are you counting the hard things in your life as things to rejoice in? Are the tests of your faith a joyful thing for you? They ought to be. Think about this: People lift weights to stretch and exercise their muscles – to put their muscles to the test – so they will get stronger. God works with us to make us stronger in a spiritual sense. He sends us circumstances that put our faith to the test. He wants to test our faith to see if we will depend on Him, because it is only through Him that we can be truly strong.
Because He is good, God often puts our faith to the test to help us grow stronger spiritually.
» What are some examples of situations where I needed to trust God?
» How has God caused my faith to grow ?
Truth In Real Life
Anna B Warner
“Lord, if I may, I’ll serve another day!”
Anna Bartlett Warner, the daughter of a well-respected New York lawyer, was born on August 31, 1827, in Long Island, New York. In Long Island, the Warner family had been known for being very rich. But then came the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a difficult time in history. The stock market crashed, and the value of the dollar went very low. People everywhere lost their jobs and their money. Many people lost everything they had.
Because of their losses, the Warners had to move to their summer home, and Anna was expected to get a job. She chose to be an author – writing novels which became famous during her lifetime. What became even more famous, however, were the hymns and songs that she wrote. She wrote the following song for a little boy in Sunday School who was dying:
Jesus loves me – this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.
“Jesus Loves Me” has become perhaps the most well-known Christian song in history.
When the Chinese Christians were persecuted they had no way of letting their brothers and sisters in Christ know that they survived. In 1972, some Christians in America received a strange message from their friends in China. The message said that the “This I know” people were fine! The Chinese police thought it was just a silly message, so they let it go through. The Americans knew right away that the Chinese Christians were referring to Anna Warner's sweet song – “Jesus Loves Me.”
Are you serving God with the gifts He has given you? Is Anna Warner’s song a good reminder to you that God loves you? He loves you more than anyone else ever could! Loving other people is a sign that you love God. Are you loving others today?
1 John 4:8 – He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.