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1 MAY 2023 | Refined Through Trials

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

James 1:2-4 – ‘Count it all joy, my brother, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.’

Some years ago, I underwent a knee surgery to repair a torn ligament. Following the surgery, doctors advised me to attend regular physiotherapy sessions, and to work on the prescribed exercises daily. Initially, I was pretty diligent with the exercises. However, as the exercises got more intense and painful, I started to slack off. As a result, muscle atrophy set in. Soon enough, the muscles on my injured leg wasted away and shrank to almost half the size of my good leg! That set me back significantly in the recovery process. (Moral of the story: listen to your doctors!!)

Well, did you know that – just as our physical muscles can waste away due to disuse, our faith muscles can also weaken when not exercised regularly? That is why James can say – ‘count it joy when you meet trials!’. It is because trials can also be opportunities for us to exercise faith in God. Trials challenge, refine and eventually strengthen our convictions about who God is.

For example, we may have sung a thousand times about God’s providence, but when faced with a situation of financial hardship, we’re confronted afresh with that one important question: ‘Do I really, really, really believe that God will provide?’ In that situation, we can either scramble to formulate our own rescue plan, or do we can pray, listen, and trust God. For the person that wisely chooses God, his (or her) faith is refined and proven more authentic. James reminds us that the reward for such unwavering faith is the ‘crown of life.’ (James 2:12)

Are you facing trials today? As Christians, we do not have to despair and be dejected. Know that Christ is with you in your hardship and challenges. Exercise your faith and use that trial as an opportunity to declare to your own heart (and to the world) that:

‘I believe in Jesus!’

‘I believe He is my protector!’

‘I believe He heals in His good time!’

‘I believe He will provide!’

‘I believe my pain will not be forever!’

‘I believe He will come again!’

Ps. Kelvin Chua


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