How do you count it all joy?
“Count it all joy when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance…” Jame 1:2
Really? Did Paul really mean that we should count all our trials as joy?
The way I look at it, if we are not in a trial, good for us! I hate to break the news, and I am not trying to put a damper on our day, but we are probably on our way into a trial if my past experience has any merit in predicting future experiences. Our lives are beautiful, amazing and precious, but I’m telling the brutal and graceful truth.
Three kinds of ‘various’ trials.
Readily three kinds of trials come to mind:
First: Oh, really was that a trial? God sure brought me/us through that!
I look back and see that a trial slid by nearly unnoticed because God’s faithfulness and grace were so strong that he protected me and my loved ones in a miraculous way. OK, I can count that joy while in the midst of a trial! Joy even fills my heart in these situations.
Example. Recently, I was stranded in my van unable to start the car or open the doors due to a malfunction with my complex system. A call for help and a couple hours of perseverance took care of the problem. Although I missed an appointment, gratitude for a shaded garage and a friendly, generous neighbor abounded! Now that could’ve been a different type of trial! In fact, later a friend said she was amazed that I did not break down or cry or lose it emotionally during the event.
Second: Lord, I know you will bring me/us through this. I can give thanks in all circumstances!
Other times I find myself looking for the best way to cope or deal with a difficulty. I go about my business with family and friend’s support, prayer, counsel, scripture meditation and memorization, and ride the struggle to victory.
Example. When I had my accident and paralysis we all knew it was life changing and horrible. But as you can see from my Life Can Turn on a Dime series, through the ups and downs God’s grace abounded and hope was nearly always within reach.
Third: Not sure I can take this anymore. What do you mean count it all joy?
Finally, there are those trials that just seem to beat us down. Usually this type of trial includes ourselves and/or someone we hold most dear in our hearts. A death, divorce, illness, struggle to have a child, etc. can fall into this category. When they come I’d like quick deliverance by all means! But ‘quick deliverance’ doesn’t often come.
Example. Simultaneous chronic health issues experienced by my husband and me wore us both out. It’s hard when our pain affects others day after day. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep suffering when healing evades us, hope is dim and pain is deep. Moment by moment and day by day is the best I can do to move forward.
This kind of fiery trial continually asks us to look for His refinement, to look for the unexpected and unanticipated goodness, and to consider the testing as an opportunity for a break through of faith…and maybe an opportunity to learn.
I’m still learning about trials and would love to hear about your experiences and how you view counting it ALL joy.
Knowing that God is faithful,