Whew! It’s over, the trouble has passed.
That’s what I used to think earlier in my faith walk when a trial or test ended.
I was wrong. God wants us to do more than celebrate “surviving” our trials like we’re passing a freeway-clogging accident. The “more” is asking him to identify opportunities to grow our faith for the journey’s next leg.
Why do we have to ask?
Because spiritual growth after a trial is not automatic. I know that now, but in the early days after accepting Christ, I never once asked God what could be learned from the ups and downs in my life.
After much trial and error, I have learned that we MUST ask God—immediately after the trial ends—for the learning that will grow our faith. We win or lose the growth battle right here. Any hesitation or delay in processing the event and looking for the opportunity to grow our faith will compromise the results.
I’ve also figured out that we are looking for ANYTHING to take forward. It does not have to be a huge, “once-in-a-lifetime lesson.” Small adjustments in our spiritual walk are extremely important.
This faith-growing approach definitely works and it compounds over time like interest in a bank account. But there’s more. After learning and adjusting, we receive the incredible bonus of having our eyes opened wide to see God’s magnificence and unconditional shepherding of each and every step we take.
Believe it or not…that bonus is EASY to miss in our walk with God.
Do you pause to reflect on what God would have you learn after a trial in your life is over?
We need to ask God to help us fight off the temptation to zoom past the difficulties we encounter in life and, instead, go to him quickly for the pruning, learning, or direction he will provide. God is the only source of the strength we need to WANT to identify those areas of our life that need adjustment to help us lead a Christ-like life.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1
We do not revel in the trials of life. After all, we don’t look forward to troubles and tribulations. But when trials do come, we can eagerly anticipate learning valuable lessons from them that will benefit our own spiritual growth. God uses them to build our faith and to build our trust in him so we can grow spiritually, honor the Lord, and build the Kingdom.
Why should we rejoice? Because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and brings us closer to God. It builds our relationship and partnership with him in a way that permeates our entire being. None of this is to say we won’t be sad during our trials, but God is especially close to the broken-hearted.