“The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger. ‘God, how could you do this to me!’ he cried. Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. ‘How did you know I was here?’ asked the weary man of his rescuers. ‘We saw your smoke signal,’ they replied” (Tim Shen Illustrations).
I have to admit, I cringe when people blame God for their problems. Who are we, as a small and sinful people, to point the finger at God and condemn Him for our problems? The reason I like the above illustration is because it shows that positive things come from trials sometimes. We are all wearing blinders that make it hard to see past our immediate situations. All we see are the problems happening right here and right now. For this reason, it is so important that we keep our composure and work through the trials.
There is a much better way to view the problems we face. It is all about perspective. We need to look for the silver lining. The book of James speaks often about trials and suffering. Here are a few suggestions to view trials with a better attitude:
- Look at trials as a joy, because they are (James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:12-16). Maybe we go through some of our problems because God sees us worthy enough for such a difficult trial!
- Look at trials as a test from God, because they might be (James 1:3; Genesis 22). Will we pass this test, or will we get angry and blame god?
- Look at trials as a way to make you better and stronger for the future (James 1:3-4). Take off the blinders and start looking for how God may use this in your future.
God never promised that this life will be problem free, even for the most faithful. He has promised an eternal reward in heaven for those who remain faithful through this life though (Revelation 2:10). So the next time a trial comes your way, how will you react?