We tend not to think that trials may be a normal part of our faith experience. We would prefer to follow a Gospel of ease, where nothing much is expected from us, so nothing can be taken away. We could be missing “the crown of life” (above). What we settle for is not the “life” imagined by James, but something rather flaccid and harmless. So harmless that we are no threat to anyone, Satan included.
“Standing the test” suggests that our trials will be for a season only, designed to bring the believer to a higher level of trust and faith. The stories of our early missionaries to the dark places on earth are both horrific and thrilling. The early martyrs knew what they were getting themselves into, and still they volunteered for the sake of the Gospel. The desire to share the Good news was stronger than the opposition they encountered, bitter though it was. Does their example inspire us to put up with our rather small trials under lockdown?
Some might argue that the world would be a more peaceful place if there were no religions to divide us, and that is true. But “peace” is a fickle reality if viewed from a Godless perspective. It exists only where there is a balance of power between opposing factions, and is brittle at best. But the peace that comes from knowing God’s love crosses every divide. Enemies can become friends overnight when both recognise who they owe their lives to. The “crown of life” (above) is something bestowed as a reward for perseverance. How much more could we be persuaded to work for the Lord if we understood this better? How might our grumpiness improve?