None of us were trained for a task in the kingdom of heaven from the time we were born. My nature is far from divine nature. That is precisely the reason why I can rejoice when I encounter trials in my life – because I have the opportunity to attain divine nature!
I have to see the evil that dwells in me before I can do anything about it. It is exactly for this reason that I have trials – God uses the trials to show me what I need to cleanse out. In this way I can become sanctified – become like Jesus Christ.
Trials come in all shapes and sizes, and are different for each person. God knows me and knows exactly what I need. Therefore, when I face a difficult situation, great or small, I can “count it all joy.” (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7) I need this! My human reaction is often the exact opposite, but I am called to be fashioned and prepared for the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, instead of reacting, I should listen for God’s will for me right at this moment; what does He want to show me in this situation? What is it that I need to be cleansed from?
The purpose of trials is not to make my life difficult and sad. God gives me tailor-made situations so that I can see the sin which dwells within me – so that I can acknowledge the truth and become happy and free.
Trials reveal how I am by nature. I am able to see, for example, that I place demands on others, or that I am unthankful or impatient. But being able to see my own nature is God’s great grace. It is light from heaven that makes things clear for me. In this way, I can partake of divine nature in this specific situation.
Therefore it is written, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” James 1:2.
When I view them as valuable opportunities to be sanctified, then trials become essential for me – something I wouldn’t want to have been without! Therefore, I rejoice right in the middle of the trial, even though it may be difficult on a human level, because I have a higher goal in view.
What do I do when the fiery trial comes?
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13.
Peter encourages us to rejoice in sufferings because they lead to the life of Jesus being manifested in me. This is the overriding goal for everything that happens to me – that I am sanctified so that I one day can stand before God without spot and blemish. In order for this to occur, it is essential that a “fire” comes over my life, and that I stand, unshakable! – not wishing my way out of the circumstances, but rather praying that I can take them in the right way to get as much as possible out of the circumstances. The fire cleanses all the impurities out of the gold. (1 Peter 1:7)
What could be better than partaking of divine nature? Those who endure in trials experience this, and rejoice and can give thanks for everything they face in life. They experience that everything works for their good. Each trial is an opportunity to go farther on the way, and further their development by carrying out God’s will.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.