Life apparently seems “complete” when there is no storm nor darkness in our path, and many times over we equate the absence of trouble and trials in our lives as blessings. However, sprinkled all throughout Scripture, we see that the most used individuals were tested. They were afflicted, tempted, and introduced to adversity, that they may be found “perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Complete then in God’s eyes, must be much deeper than what the world believes to be whole. If God used trials in the life of men like King David, calling him “a man after His own heart,” wouldn’t we then believe that there is a significant value in the development of our character through trials?
That is why I am convinced that God is more interested in developing us in our circumstances than He is in delivering us from our circumstances. From personal experience, it has become very clear to me that God will use our afflictions to make us look more like Him. Whole. Complete. Thus, if we want the “rosy” parts, we must accept the “thorny” parts as well.
In James chapter 1, verses 2-4, he writes, “My brethren (that’s you and me!), count it all joy WHEN you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (emphasis mine).
“When you fall into various trials” is a declarative statement. “When” indicates a certain happening, not a possibility. And “when” we do fall into various trials in life, we are to consider them joy, knowing that the present affliction is required for us to be complete! This is just one piece of that requirement, as we must be willing to handle adversity successfully.
It is a matter of priorities and perspective, and when you see that the many different pieces of adversity that you face are for your spiritual growth and not your harm, you will begin to see how adversity is the path to greater peace.
Further, here is the perspective changer. There are always several parts of a whole, and if we want one part of the whole, we must accept the other part TO BE WHOLE. You need chaos to feel peace; you need to know pain to know joy; darkness to show light; resistance for strength; waiting and testing of faith to produce patience; and of course, you must feel some form of confinement before you recognize true liberty.
Every piece! We need both parts to be whole.
And when life’s trials and troubles are one part, know that “counting them all joy” will bring the other part. Every experience we face leaves us with a choice of how we will respond to it. Do we take the negative parts of our situations and allow them to make us bitter or better? Understand that it is the negative experiences of life that allow us to see a piece of ourselves and others, hopefully learning from such “attractions,” placing us on the right road toward peace. Like the negative and positive sides of a magnet coming together, we need the negative side to have found the positive side.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will COMPLETE it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
God’s work will be COMPLETE, but will you accept every part that comes with the various trials of life?