Equipped for Rough Roads
When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t treat them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence (James 1:2-4, PH)
Suffering makes us strong. God allows hardship in our lives so that our beliefs—those handholds of faith in a troubled world—will became more and more real to us and less and less theory. We can start living out our faith-life in the real world.
I’m reminded of all the people you see on the road these days driving those gleaming new SUVs. Most of these fancy rigs have four-by-four capabilities. In other words, you could drive them through the mud or power up some rocky track on a mountainside.
But how many people really do that? Some guys brag to their buddies and say, “Yeah, just look at this thing. Look at what it can do. I could drive this baby up the side of a building.”
“Well,” someone might ask, “do you want to go out in the dirt?”
“Are you kidding? Do you know how much I paid for this thing? There’s no way! In fact, I was just on the way to the car wash.”
So they never want to actually use that vehicle for its intended purpose—what it was actually designed to do.
We can be that way with our beliefs. We talk about believing this and believing that and about the truths we hold dear. But I can hear God saying to us, “You know, you have a lot of really great beliefs. You talk about them all the time. You talk about how you believe I can provide for your every need. Okay. Let Me put you into a situation where you have no other resources and really have to trust Me for that provision.”
You see, God can allow these hardships and trials and shortfalls in our lives so that we will exercise our sometimes flabby faith muscles and step out on trust alone. We need to transfer our faith from the realm of theory to in-the-trenches reality.