Five Blessings That Are Formed and Found in Adversity

By Dr. Jack Graham

In 2009, when I was battling cancer, a friend said to me, “Jack, I’m praying for you that you will learn everything you need to learn in the midst of this trial in your life.”

I’ve never forgotten that. It became my prayer. “Lord, teach me what You want to teach me.” And He taught me a lot more than I think I wanted to know at the time.

These are trials, and trials are tests that authenticate our faith. Trials are painful, but they strengthen us spiritually and build our character.

In the book of James, the half-brother of Jesus and the leader of the church in Jerusalem tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). The idea here is we’re walking along; everything is going well, and then, out of nowhere, life hits us with a two-by-four – a trial, a test, a storm – and we’re caught in the middle of it.

I know I’m writing to people right now who are in the midst of a trial. It’s been said that every Christian is in a trial or coming out of a trial or going into a trial. That’s life! Trials are inevitable and inescapable. We live in a world full of pain and suffering (Romans 8:22).

But, in Jesus, there is hope. For during our trials and adversity, God is at work. He wants to grow your character. He wants to bless you during this season of adversity in many, many ways. Here are just five of those blessings:

  1. The Blessing of Stability

“For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness,” James writes (James 1:3). To be steadfast is to be strong, immovable. It means you stand strong under pressure in the power of God’s might.

Now, that’s difficult because the first thing we want to do when there are pains, problems or pressures is to get out as fast as possible. I do, and so do you. But what we need is the opposite – just stay in the penalty box until God says we’re out, until we have developed the patience and steadfastness that produces stability in our lives.

God wants to bring us to the place where we don’t fall apart when bad things happen, so we aren’t crushed by a crisis in our life.

It’s like working out with a trainer who keeps pushing you to the limit and beyond – “Just one more, one more; you can do it!” Think of James as your personal trainer. He’s saying we must keep pushing until the perfect work is done in us.

God wants us to go through and grow through the trials of life.

  1. The Blessing of Maturity

“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4).

When we endure, we mature.

God is working from the inside out, until we reach the goal of perfection, which is Christlikeness. Unfortunately, too many Christians aren’t maturing in their faith!

When the grandkids come to visit, things can get a little wild around the house, and it is so much fun watching them! They shout and laugh and have the greatest time, just being kids. But if they’re still behaving the same way 20 years from now, that’s a problem!

You want your kids and your grandkids to grow up. God wants His kids to grow up, too. But some of us aren’t growing.

You need to grow in your faith! And if you’re not growing, guess what happens? A trial comes along that will wake you up, get you up, and get you going!

  1. The Blessing of Clarity

James 1:5 teaches, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Ask and you will receive wisdom.

When we are in trials, they clear our thinking. Our understanding and our perspective sharpen when God gives us wisdom. And when we get wisdom, our eyes are opened to what God is doing in our life. We don’t always know why the trial is there, but we do get perspective.

  1. The Blessing of Vitality

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ … Count it all joy, my brothers (and sisters) when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:1–2).

Vitality prepares us for greater service. Pain prepares spiritual power for ministry.

I know that the people I respect most in their Christian walk have been through the deepest trials and struggles, and have come through them stronger and better. People can go through horrendous things, but their joy can remain, and their faith can grow stronger. Their tests become a testimony!

God rarely uses anyone in a great way who hasn’t been broken. So, God might send a trial into your life to break you so that He might bless you in ways you can’t imagine. You are prepared for something better and greater in your life than you ever thought possible.

It’s not over! God is getting you ready for something better, something greater in your life!

  1. The Blessing of Humility

Finally, trials produce humility. That’s the reason James called himself a servant. His example is a remarkable testimony of the humility in which we serve God.

James understood the challenges and difficulties that life throws at us. His is a personal and very practical message to the faithful. When you read James, you’re hearing from the heart of a pastor. He counsels us, dealing with the realities of life in this world.

James 1 is a passage about praying through pain, through trials and tears, and what to do when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray. These were powerful words for the early church that are just as valid today. Trials definitely drive us to our knees, and this is where we find relief and answers to help us through.

I’ve discovered that in the Christian life, pain is inevitable, but misery is strictly optional.

You see, whatever you face in life, even through the pain, you can still have joy in your heart by turning your thoughts to thankfulness.

On the best of days and the worst of days, thank God. When you reach the place where you can count everything as joy, you can say, as Paul did in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”

Dr. Jack Graham serves as Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest and most dynamic churches in the country.

This article was originally published in “Visible Faith” by Dr. Jack Graham. If you are interested in receiving a free copy of “Visible Faith,” please contact Jack Raymond at jraymond@prestonwood.org.

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