Count It All Joy – Three Types of Trials

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,


I’m in Charge of Butter

The other day we ran out of butter; I failed our household.

Don’t we all occasionally fall on our faces not believing what dire circumstances we have caused by not staying on top of details?  …but please not the butter.

Brent is in charge of keeping up with the status of our milk supply (please don’t judge me, I seriously never drink it), he takes care of the trash, he often cooks and cleans up, he cuts the grass, helps me with…well let me think…he helps me with just about everything! Oh yeah, it seems like I could say he is ‘in charge of the whole house!’ (It’s all an illusion, I tell you.)

My job is to ensure that we don’t run out of butter!

We have been married almost twelve years and we have never once…not once… run out of butter until this day. I could make excuses like, ‘We were busy with a shower and other engagements this past weekend or we have been very busy with all manner of life…even some critical and consuming issues. But none of these excuses are adequate.

I recognized my failure when the simple porcelain butter dish revealed this sight for sore eyes:20120428-215445.jpg

Brent: ‘Hey chickie, we are out of butter!’
I think: No it can’t be true. I know we have a pound or two in the freezer.
Me: ‘…Let me look…’ I didn’t flinch…I wasn’t even rattled as I peered into the recesses of the freezer certain there was more butter. But I could not believe my eyes; there was no butter!

Brent immediately suggested that I seek counseling.

Technically we were not really out of butter as there was one lonely pat which we were not allowed to eat until we got more butter. I hid it under lock and key…because our house is never out of butter.

…without butter we can’t make cream cheese frosting
…without butter we suffer through our baked and mashed potatoes
…without butter Brent’s gluten-free waffles are almost inedible

Even though I haven’t eaten butter this week, with the exception of my strawberries with cream cheese frosting, I know the house is fully stocked because now we have butter. My need for counseling has vanished.

This butter episode, while humorous and a bit satirical, reminds me of how often the small things in life are more of a challenge to face, to admit, and to surrender than major difficulties. Little showers of rain catch me off guard – I think I can handle them and resist taking time to spread a necessary layer of grace on them. But I find it easy to allow God to slather me with grace when the thunderous storms intrude.

My life is better knowing butter is available. I know it’s there when I need it for a tiny roll or for a monster recipe of frosting….and my life is better when I grasp the amazing grace available in all the little details, the showers and the storms I encounter.

Grace and peace to you today in all things that come your way… – Madge

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16