“God has us in school. He is in the process of teaching us about . . . His faithfulness, His goodness, His compassion, and His holiness. Just like any other school, some classes are more appealing than others. And if we are honest, Adversity 101 is not one of our favorite classes. But it is essential if we are to grow up in the Lord.”- Dr. Charles F. Stanley
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”- James 1:2 (NIV)
Dr. Charles Stanley concludes Chapter 14 of Can You Still Trust God? with comments on James 1;2. Because it’s the most quoted verse in the Bible on the topic of adversity.
Certainly, Dr. Stanley stresses, James doesn’t tell us to bey joyous because of our trial. Rather, James’ exhortation takes the form of an assumption instead of a reason. Hence, James assumes a commitment to spiritual growth in his readers. That they’ll rejoice because of the end result of trials – growth.
Yet, James cautions that it’s possible to interrupt this maturing process. That occurs when we fail to ‘let endurance have its perfect result’ (James 1:4 NKJV). Thus, we short-circuit the maturing process when we respond incorrectly to adversity. As a result, we put off the precise thing God sent the trial into our lives to accomplish. We end up in a spiritual coma.
Consequently, Dr. Stanley offers his perspective on the connection between trials and spiritual growth:
“The issue was not whether I thought adversity was a fair trade-off for spiritual growth. The issue was whether or not I was going to take God at His word and begin viewing adversity from that perspective. . . . That is, when God reveals the answer. we must accept it — not debate it, not simply consider it. We are to take God at His word and live by it. Until we are willing to do so, things will never be clear.”
Today’s question: How do you respond when you find some classes more appealing than others? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The ultimate measure of friends”