Throughout Scripture human beings undergo tests/trials to see if they will remain faithful to God, if they will continue to entrust him to be the source of goodness in their lives. From Adam to Abraham to Israel to Jesus to the Apostle Paul, we see examples of God’s testing people to see if they will continue to trust him. Along with promises from God which touch many specific areas of life, we find promises which will help us cope with directly with the idea of being tested/tempted (“tempt” is the Old English word equivalent for “test/trial”). For the next few weeks we’ll consider some of these trials.
Consider it all joy, my family, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the proving of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3
The Barr Trail up the east side of Pike’s Peak is approximately 13.5 miles long and gains about 7300 feet of elevation as it ascends the mountain to its 14,110 foot summit. Above tree-line, the decrease in atmospheric pressure and available oxygen become more and more noticeable. Muscles which have propelled climbers to this level are genuinely fatigued. At this point psychological endurance is as critical to success as physical endurance, more so even. One way to reinforce the determination to continue climbing is to consider the terrain already traversed, because the elation of past success can reenergize the heart more efficiently than food does the body. Similarly, we will find renewed strength for the walk of faith when we ponder the obstacles we’ve overcome on our journey. Every time we pass a test of our confidence in God’s promises, we learn that we have the ability to take the next step. Walking by faith means we don’t yet see the promised future; we can only see the obstacles we’ve overcome along the way. Loving an enemy, telling the truth when it will be embarrassing, not exalting ourselves at the expense of someone else’s reputation or well-being, all require us to trust God’s promises for a happy future. The challenges to our faith involved in each of these situations are causes for joy, because each success encourages us concerning our ability to persevere to the end.
Lord Jesus, thanks for walking the path ahead of me and showing me the joy of overcoming adversity as I trust in the Father.