I vividly remember one of the schools I went to when I was a kid. Adjacent to the asphalt playground there was a hill. At the top of the hill sat a huge boulder. It was a great place to play for young kids with imagination. Every once in awhile, though, some of the boys would get the idea that it might be fun to roll the boulder down the hill. So they would try. A couple of guys, or even a whole gang of them, would push and shove, grunting and sweating, trying to budge that big rock from its perch on the hill. But it would never move, not even a fraction of an inch. It was solidly in place. It was steadfast. No wind or rain–or even a bunch of determined kids–were going to get it to budge off its firm foundation.
That’s what the testing of our faith—the NIV says, “trials of many kinds”—does for us. Those tests and trials, that we would prefer to avoid, produce steadfastness, a solidness that keeps us moored in place.
The opening passage goes on to say, “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4). I want to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, don’t you? So, how do we get there? Through trials and testing.