The Value of Trials
There is a value in trials. In fact, God allows them into our lives for a purpose. It's been said that trials will either break our back or bend our knees. They'll either drive us to the Lord and we'll cling to Him and trust Him, or they'll make us very angry at Him. In other words, they'll either make us better or bitter.
The way we handle trials shows what's really inside of our hearts. God allowed Satan to afflict Job, and Job showed that he would be devoted to God, no matter what his circumstances.
Trials are a natural part of life, and we need to learn to expect them. Jesus told us that in this life we will have tribulation, or trouble (see John 16:33). And James 1:2 tells us to expect "various trials." Some will come to us just because we're human; they happen to everybody. Jesus said the rain falls on the just and the unjust (see Matthew 5:45). But there are some that happen because we're Christians. 1 Peter 4:12 tells us not to think it's strange when this happens.
Since trials are going to come, how can we have victory? Go back to James 1.
First, have a joyful attitude (v. 2). "Counting it all joy" is tough to swallow. But scripture doesn't say rejoice in your circumstances, it says rejoice in the Lord, often in spite of your circumstances. Be joyful for what God will do through the trials. The attitude of the Christian is to look beyond the immediate.
Next, have an understanding mind (v. 3). Know that God is working, and that the trial is working for you, and not against you. Don't look at the trial as a punishment from God. God's actions are never punitive, but corrective. Patience and perseverance are marks of maturity, and the only way to get them is through trials. So learn to wait on the Lord.
Then, have a surrendered will (v. 4). This verse says "let" or "allow" patience to do its work. God cannot build our characters without our cooperation. The only hindrance to spiritual growth is ourselves. So let God do His work.
And finally, have a believing heart (vv. 5-8). Wisdom is the correct use of knowledge. We need wisdom so that we will not waste the opportunities that God is giving us to mature. Ask in faith, and then proceed in faith, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). If you want to gain faith, exercise it, and it will increase. So believe God.
God allows trials into our lives for a purpose. We may not know why, but He knows and He means them for our benefit. And that is sufficient.