The more I talk to people the more I understand that we truly don't like trials or tribulation. We prefer to have a life of ease and minimize our discomforts but over time we learn that trials play an important role in the maturity of the Christian.
One of the greatest lessons to be learned is in the area of pride and humility. An untried and untested Christian faith is one that is puffed up and thinks itself to be superior to the one that has been battered about by the storms of life. The faith that has never been tested often sits in judgment of the faith that, while may temporarily falter, will grow deep, strong and true roots as a result of the adversity.
A faith that has had an easy go of it may appear to be genuine and even superior to that of a person who has come from a background of deep sin and sorrow but I would say that is not the case at all.
Meeting with women as I do, I can see a certain benefit to a stormy kind of existence. Those periods of storm and tumult cause a person to examine what they honestly believe to be true about our God. They learn the benefit of perseverance in the faith and in life. These people are not quitters, they are more than overcomers. Overcomers have seen the bottom and they have experienced the towering waves of distress and trouble that would wash away a "better" Christian.
Sadly, the "better" Christians are the ones who so often sit in proud judgment of their sisters in Christ because their clothes aren't just right, or their actions are a little rough or their language still contains a bit too much salt. These "better" Christians are not better for their lives of ease. I would instead say that they are not "there" yet.
What I have observed is that the untried faith has little to cling to by way of experience when the bottom falls out of life. They receive a crash course from the school of hard knocks and suddenly realize a demand for the spiritual rubber to meet the road. Often times they wind up in a ditch because they are ill-prepared for the challenge. Rather than watching and learning from those whose lives are marked by trial and hardship, they wasted those valuable opportunities for wisdom as they sat in pious judgment - to their detriment.
Their ditches look like anxiety and fear, worry and panic attacks, anger and bitterness, and even hatred and divorce. This is where many are when they arrive at the counselors door, often after trying the worlds methods of dealing with these issues. They learn that the pills and therapy are not the answer to their broken lives, what is actually needed is a broken heart. Their prideful heart needs to be broken and repaired by the Master Surgeon. An attitude of repentance must be present and they must be willing to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. Only then can repairs begin in the life of such a person.
For myself, I have learned to embrace trials to a greater extent. I dislike the pain they bring, but I value what they teach me. I have come to understand they are God's way of reminding me who is actually Master of my life, and I accept that those very trials because they help to humble me.
Which side of this fence are you on today? Are you standing in judgment or laid low in humility? Embrace your trials, they will bring your faith to a deeper place than you could ever imagine.
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of £your faith the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9 (NASB)