“They who had been lively Christians in the fire of persecution, would soon become cold in the midst of universal peace, except some few, whom God by sharp trials would keep in a faithful, watchful, humble, and praying frame” (4, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography by Iain Murray, quoting Hooker, applying it to the hard life of Richard Edwards, Jonathan’s grandfather).
The quote above isn’t from Jonathan Edwards nor is it about him. But it is still helpful. This reminds me of applying James 1:2-4 in everyday life. We live in relatively peaceful situation here in Los Angeles in 2011. I don’t have sharp trials, but I do have trials that God intends to use to keep me faithful, humble, watchful, and praying.
It’s almost embarrassing to mention my trials, but I do think God wants me to be aware of them. So I’m to consider it a great joy when my kids disobey me and give a bad attitude. I’m supposed to consider it a great joy when I struggle to be consistent in prayer. God seeks to grow my endurance and complete my character through our church not growing quickly with conversions and gathering in unchurched people who profess saving faith. My struggle with focus and really fruitful and focused study is a trial. My fear of evangelizing is a trial. And in all these things God wants me to consider it a great joy because he uses it to push me and shape me. May it make me faithful, humble, and praying because my weaknesses and sins are many and my vigilance and watchfulness is meager.