Trials That Test Your Faith

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If you follow Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers on Facebook or Twitter, you may be aware that I’ve been looking for a new family devotional to use during our family’s Bible study time. We’ve used Keys for Kids for year and really enjoy them, but as my kids have gotten older, the devotions have become predictable to the point of being silly to my kids.

That’s not really an insult to the devotional, just a testament to my kids growing comprehension, I guess. We just know that, at some point in the story, Mom or Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, or the kid’s Sunday school teacher is going to relate whatever is happening to some deep Bible truth.

That is, of course, the point of a life application story. And because I like that style of Bible study – read the Bible, apply it to life, discuss it, identify a key verse, and pray about it – I was finding that all the Bible studies that I was drawn to were more of the same.

Then, I had a revelation: why not use the same study method that I’ve been using in my personal Bible study – SOAP – with the kids?

We started Monday and it’s been going great. The younger two have gotten minimally involved – I suspect that will improve as they get more used to what we’re doing – but I’ve been really impressed with how insightful my oldest is.

I thought I’d share some thoughts from one of our discussions this past week, which is no way meant to suggest that perhaps I’ve been inconsistent with my own personal Bible study for the last week or so. {ahem}

trials that test our faith

photo credit justin on flickr

Scripture (As chosen by Brianna): “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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Observation: James, the brother of Jesus, was talking to the Christian Jews. These Jews weren’t especially popular at the time. They were rejected by the Jews who did not believe that Christ was the Messiah and they were rejected by the non-Jews around them who believed in neither their God nor their Messiah.

They were being jailed, mocked, and stoned. We imagined that their businesses – their livelihood – and their family life was affected, as well.

Although we don’t face trials of this nature, we do face things, daily, that test our faith and our patience.

Application: The biggest trials that the kids could relate to in their daily lives were, well, each other. When you’re together 24/7 the people you live with can get on your nerves.

Go figure.

This applies to adults, as well – family members, co-workers, that annoying woman in Walmart, that guy who cut you off in traffic. Wherever you turn, there are people trying your patience.

Then, there are the big trials in life. The death of a friend that you still don’t understand. The sick baby. The seemingly healthy wife and mother with the inoperable brain tumor. Bills that are piling up while your spouse still can’t find work. The things that you’re crying out to God about and yet you’re not hearing the answer – or, at the very least, not the answer you’re hoping for.

What does that have to do with the testing of our faith or with maturity? A lot. How we react to the trials that we face can either grow our faith or stunt it.

The kids and I discussed this in light of the little daily annoyances. If your brother is getting on your last nerve, you have some options: you can react the way you want to by yelling, name-calling, or otherwise letting him know how you feel at the moment, or you can ignore the behavior, defuse it by saying something kind, or control your own reaction by silently praying and thanking God that you have a brother who, you know, loves you and whom you love in return.

Which one is going to make you more mature?

Maybe it’s a little thing, but training your mind to react in a more mature manner is a skill that will grow your faith. Because, God loves you, too, even though He may not always act in the way that you want Him to in a given moment.

This is true in the big trials, as well. God loves us. Period. He wants what’s best for us. Period. We may not understand Him or our circumstances or whey He’s allowing us to go through them, but He tells us to consider these things pure joy because they are growing our faith.

Did Jesus consider it pure joy to face death on the cross for our sins? I know the Bible tells us that He wasn’t looking forward to it and that He asked God to not to make Him do it (Luke 22:42), but He did it anyway.

How would our perspective on our trials change if we considered each of them, big and small, as a chance to grow and mature in our faith?

Prayer: Father God, help us to consider it pure joy when we face trials, big and small, knowing that they are providing opportunities for us to mature in our faith and grow closer to you. Help us to make the right choices when responding to the trials, so that our words and actions glorify you. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Thank you for this….your insights and also your SOAP idea.

    We use Keys for Kids and my kids can almost always predict the way they will turn out, and we are needing a change, too.

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