“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life” (James 1:12).
Faith invests in the trials God brings to us. Trials are part of the portfolio of investment vehicles by which our God enriches us in the blessings of salvation. The problem is, though, that trials are the most likely of those vehicles to scare us off because in them we suffer hardship and seeming loss.
That’s why James urges us to “remain steadfast” under trial. Trials are described as tests to be withstood. At worst, we are inclined to resist them. At best, we resign ourselves to them. But our Lord would have us find joy in trials because they prove our faith, build our character, and offer great reward.
In particular, the reward James highlights for perseverance is “the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” This crown is not something we merit by our steadfastness. Rather, it represents sharing in the victory of Jesus Christ. Though the crown may adorn our head, we cast it down at the feet of Him who sits on the throne because to Him belong all glory, honor, and praise.
We’ve heard this language of God’s work to those who love Him. Paul uses it in the context of trials in respect to the character of God. He writes to the Romans: “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” Paul agrees with James that trials are a source of good and a reason for joy.
They also agree on grounds for such confidence. God is at work for our salvation. Our confidence in trials is found in Him who cannot lie and who keeps His promises.
“My Lord and my God, grant me grace to walk by faith into the headwinds of trial.”