One day when my boys were young, we were making banana bread. Since it’s one of their favorite treats, they were having a hard time waiting the hour it took to bake. Their conversation went something like this.
Son #1: “Why does it take so long? Can’t we turn up the heat and make it cook faster?”
Son #2: “Hey! if we changed it from 350 to 700 it would cook in half the time.”
Son #1: (getting excited) “If we turned it up to 1000 degrees it would cook in only 20 minutes, right?”
Of course, we all got a good laugh out of it as we thought about this weird logic. We talked about how the bread would only be half-baked. How the inside would be mush and the outside would be crispy and probably not an appetizing color. We talked about how it has to bake at the right temperature for the right amount of time if we want it to turn out perfect.
I think this is exactly what James is talking about when he says, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4 (CSB)
If endurance means patience, we can see how the banana bread story really conveys what we do with God all the time. We can get impatient and want to speed things up. Learn the lessons faster so we can get on with it. But God knows exactly what conditions are best to bring us to that perfect result, lacking in nothing.
This same concept can be seen in so many other examples. Consider the amount of pressure needed to produce a diamond, or the temperature needed to refine gold, or even the time needed for paint to dry. The perfect result of all of those things depends on the correct conditions and time. There are no shortcuts.
Sometimes we really just want God to hurry up and finish. But if we follow the logic of the banana bread, do we really want Him to turn up the heat? And will we be thankful for the final product if we take short cuts?
Allow God to set the conditions that James talks about. The trials and the testing are God’s perfect recipe that if followed, will cause you to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Where is God testing your faith in order to produce endurance in your life?