A friend wrote to me today about a trial. I thought perhaps the short answer for him might be of good to someone today (or some other day). The advice comes from Thomas Goodwin (Temptation and its Perfect Work) (James 1:1-5). First, temptations will try our grace like fire purifying gold; God will then put his stamp upon the gold — and reveal that gold to be true when Jesus returns:
They are the refiner’s pot and fire. You would rejoice if you had so much gold given you. Then rejoice that you have so much affliction to try your gold. That your graces are so highly valued by God is the reason why he tries them; he would not be at the pains and cost of it else. And they being tried, and holding to right and true gold indeed, they have thereupon his approbation upon that trial; and he sets his royal Tower stamp and mark upon them, secretly in this life, and the same will openly appear to all the world at latter day;
The second reason: God can only make us “perfect” and whole by means of trials and temptations:
Let patience have its perfect work, and it will make you perfect. Now there is no occasion, or room, or work for patience, unless there be trials. And patience, its work is but so far as the affliction proves to be [we cannot have any patience than we have been afflicted]. So then, …. that the full work of patience in our souls is, of all other graces, the highest perfection of a Christian : and therefore, ‘count it all joy to fall into temptations;’ for thereby you will have that grace drawn forth to the fullest length, wound up to the highest peg, which is not done unless temptations is be answerable.