Let’s be honest here, I think many of us will answer with a “No way!” Maybe even a “*^%% No!” I’m not talking about the little disruptive trials that happen daily, I am speaking of the bigger ones: sickness, unexpected illness, financial hardship, relocating, job change – you get the idea. When these trials come into our lives, how do we first respond? Do we call Mom or Dad? Phone a friend? Do we tweet about it? Or do we pray?
James 1: 2-4 tells us:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
How difficult it is to find the joy of which this verse speaks. How impossible it can seem. Can joy and grief exist together? In reflecting on this I’m reminded that whatever or wherever God has sent me, He has done so with purpose. During my personal storms, God has given me the strength I needed to endure. Strength produces endurance. If things are always going our way that doesn’t strengthen us. God wants us to be strong in temptations and trials that will come our way. Not if they come but when they come. This testing of our faith isn’t to see if we will fail and it is not meant to discourage us either. He already knows how we will respond. It is to encourage us to endure and to grow us in our walk of faith. Having joy in trials is not to deny pain. Rather if we can have the right focus we can receive joy through difficult times and often find a deeper faith. We become more mature and complete knowing that God knows what is best for us and that most importantly, he loves us. If we can start to shift our focus on Him and not the trial the simple joy of knowing Him fills us up.