When I was in High School, we had basketball practice at 5AM. If you’ve never worken up at 4:15 AM to go run windsprints and drills till you felt like you were going to pass out, let me tell you, you’ve never lived. Practice, whether it was at 5AM or 5PM was usually gruelling and difficult. It was also 100% nescessary for us to become a better basketball team.
When I set out to run a marathon, I don’t just run when I feel like it as far as I feel like it, I find a plan written by a trusted coach and I follow it to the letter. The reason is simple, that coach has helped thousands of out-of-shape mid-thirty-somethings finish marathons and I trust he knows more about it than I do. By following his plan, I have a much better chance of getting through the ordeal without an injury.
James 1:2–4 says:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
The language in these verses is a bit tricky, so let me attempt to explain:
Verse 2: We are to be happy when we encounter all different kinds of testings.
“Divers” in King James English is just a different spelling of our modern word “diverse” which means “all different kinds” and “temptations” in this context refers to tests or things that challenge us.
When we go through something hard, something that stretches us, something that makes our spiritual legs a little sorer than we are used to. We are to “Count it all joy.”
Verses 3–4: Because we know that the testing of our faith is building endurance and making us complete and mature Christians that have everything we need.
The reason why we endured those 5AM windsprints was because we knew they were making us a better basketball team. The reason why I’ll run fifteen miles long and slow on a saturday is because I know it’s required to get across the finish line. If things don’t challenge us, we will never get better.
In the Christian life, the testings we go through aren’t arbitrary. They aren’t just circumstances. They are planned by the Coach and they are part of His plan to make us complete Christians.
You can be happy about the trial you are going through right now for the same reason an athlete can be happy about a hard workout — because they trust the coach and they know it’s part of the plan.
I don’t know what you are going through today — but I want to challenge you if you are a believer to trust the coach. This will make you stronger and get you closer to being an “in shape” Christian. Just go through it wisely, putting your trust in God.