Today's article is submitted by Sister Erin Light. It's based on a class prepared by her mother, Sister Carolyn Light, on James 1:1-12. The theme is "Reasons for Trials," and the article reads a bit like a lesson outline. It uses this passage in James to shed light on one of the toughest questions in Christianity: "Why does God let bad things happen to His people?"
One of the best tests of spiritual growth and maturity is trouble. When believers go through personal trials, they discover the kind of faith they really possess. Trials not only reveal our faith, but they also develop our character.
The book of James tells us, "The trying of your faith worketh patience." Patience is enduring faith, faith with staying power, faith that overcomes. Verses 1 to 12 speak about trials and tests that come into our lives from outside circumstances. God is trying to produce in each of His servants "faith that overcomes," that endures, that has staying power. Far too many who start out following Christ fall by the wayside when temptations and trials come. God is trying to produce an inward change by allowing and even ordaining outward trials to build in us an overcoming faith.
God wants us to understand that trials in life are not uncommon (Mt. 5:10-12; 1 Pe. 4:12). If you are going through trials right now, realize that God is not picking on you (1 Cor. 10:13). He has a purpose!