Do you ever feel as though God is slow to respond? You’ve prayed about a trial in your life where you desire resolution but it seems as though God has turned a blind eye. You wonder if God has forgotten your plight or if He’s unconcerned with the weight you’re bearing.
These moments cause discouragement, leaving us wondering where God is and what He’s doing.
God hasn’t forgotten you. He’s not busy doing other things. On the contrary, He’s busy at work…in your heart.
Often, when we endure hardship, we seek immediate relief from the situation. We want it resolved and checked off our list so we can tend to the more important things in our life.
However, these seasons of weight-bearing arethe more important things in our life. When we walk through hardships, those can be the most formative, sanctifying moments of our lives.
James 1:2-4 gives us a proper perspective to maintain during trials in our life.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The testing of our faith through difficult seasons develops an important character trait in us – perseverance. And it’s only through the long, hard-fought battles that such a trait can be cultivated in us.
If God magically lifted every hardship, trial or struggle for us, what kind of people would we be? We’d be unable to empathize with others’ struggles, we’d have little to no work ethic, but more importantly, we’d have a shallow faith.
Trials can propel us to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus if we choose to lean into Him during the hardship.
Let’s look at a specific way you can draw closer to Jesus in the midst of a hardship. Anxiety is a feeling all of us have encountered at some point in the midst of hardship. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us what to do with anxiety.
Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Living out this scripture in your life involves praying every time you encounter anxious thoughts about your trial. Paul tells us what to include in our prayer: our request and thanksgiving. Don’t overlook praying with gratitude because this changes everything about our perspective on the situation. If you acknowledge what you are thankful for amidst a difficult situation, it transforms the trial from unbearable to hopeful.
Don’t miss the perseverance that is developed as you work out this scripture in your life. Do you think it’s easy to pray with thanksgiving every time you have an anxious thought? No, it’s not – nor is it supposed to be. In His great wisdom, God allows trials to endure in order to develop perseverance in you.
Here’s the hope we have in both the James and Philippians scriptures – there’s a promise of something greater to come.
Paul states that when we pray with thanksgiving to fight anxiety, God’s peace will guard and protect our hearts. James shares that when we face trials, the perseverance cultivated will result in us being mature.
Both of these things draw us into a closer relationship with Jesus while causing us to look more like Him.
And that’s the goal, friends – to be formed more and more into the image of Jesus.
So when you feel as though God is slow to respond in your trial, remember He’s actively at work developing His character in you.