Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4 The Message
Who does not feel like tests and challenges are coming at us from all sides right now? I love this translation from The Message of these verses. With the situation of the world right now, we are being forced to live our faith out loud, and our true colors will show. The world is watching to see how we weather this storm, and some of them are even finding comfort in a faith that they have been ignoring for a while. Are fear and anxiety winning the battle of your mind right now? I have to admit that it does catch me a little every time they place another restriction. When trials come our way, we have false expectations that God ought to take them away. The longer we are in a trial, we may actually question God and His love for us. Even David did this very thing when he was literally running for his life as Saul tried to kill him.
We have been blessed in this country and now it feels like our very existence is threatened, and for some it is. For many of us, we are grappling with how to deal with this sudden (but not really) shift in our lives. We have been watching COVID-19 from across the ocean as it seemed like an impossible reality that it would reach us, but it has. Even now our God is in control and on His throne. Even when the most threatening trials come our way, we should consider it as a sheer gift.
Some things in life we just have to go through to get to the other side. We can ask God to take away the trial but trials, like viruses, have to run their course. God still has a plan when the world seems to spin out of control. He has a plan for us in the middle of the out of control world. Our faith on display can be a comfort to a faithless world. In the midst of a trial like this one, people who have turned away from God may turn back to Him. Others who have never known Him will seek Him. Family relationships may be reconciled. Bonds will be strengthened as we realize the valuable gifts that God has given us in one another.
It is in times like this that we, as a community of faith, need to be there for each other. Our individual faith on display and our faith as a whole body of Christ cannot waver in the eyes of a stricken world. We can be the example and lead them to Him by showing our faith in an all-powerful God in the most uncertain of times.
Our God has already won this battle and we can trust Him. The rest of the world needs to see our faith lived out in whatever way we can. We are under pressure right now. We are in the middle of a trial – or maybe closer to the beginning – but we can know that God will see us through to the other side. Even though we have no idea what the other side looks like, God does, and He will use this trial to do its work in us, make us mature and well developed, and not deficient in any way. So go, or stay, or use social distancing, but live your faith out loud, showing your trust in a God who never fails.