“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." (James 1:2-3) For the Christian, trials serve a Divine purpose. We draw more strength from friends who have been in the fire of trials and affliction than from those resting upon pillows of comfort.
Unless we have some sadistic nature, none of us like the fiery furnace of trials. They reduce the view we have of ourselves, and they hurt. If carpentry nails had emotions, I’m sure that none of them would be in love with the hammer! However, when the hammer is in the hands of a skillful carpenter, it helps the nail reach its place of value. Nails on the shelves of the hardware store are of little worth compared to those holding walls and roofs together.
Trials come from various sources—circumstances, people, friends, finances, or health. Each of these brings to bear different types of emotional and spiritual pressure. It is through these types of stress that we usually evaluate the priorities in our life. This time of social distancing has certainly placed pressure upon many in our community regarding health, fellowship, jobs, or businesses. We find that life is more than stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Instead, life is about family, health, and friendships.
The only bond to hold our emotional and spiritual life together is the love of God in Christ Jesus. The tug of this world is always attempting to tear us away from godly commitments, spiritual priorities, and biblical knowledge. Satan hates our relationship with Christ, and he will do everything in his power to weaken it. He despises God’s love for us, and he battles against our love for God.
As the trials of life hit us, the enemy burdens our soul by challenging our faith in God’s love. He uses our pain to question God’s promises. If we fail to trust God’s truth as spoken to us in the Scriptures, the enemy will cast his net of discouragement and unbelief over our soul and drag us into the bondage of his lies.
However, if we look to Christ, the Lord will take those same trials and reveal a deeper understanding of love for us. In the midst of our pain, we find God’s pleasure. Like the nails in the hardware store, when the hammer of affliction hits our life, they are instruments to help us into our place in God’s house. Though we may scream with pain and sorrow, the Lord will use these trials to help us fulfill His plan.
In short, the trials and afflictions of this life help us find our place in God’s kingdom. The Lord is using that which hurts us so much to change us more into His image and character. He is building His house, with nails of trials, and using our lives as the lumber. After all, Jesus is… the Carpenter from Galilee.