Welcome to my corner of the world. I believe our experiences are not only for our benefit, but should be shared. I hope you will find something in my journey to encourage and inspire you.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Joyful Trials

Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta, GA

 "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials" (James 1:2)

Other translations say a great joy or pure joy. I have so far to go if maturity is being joyful in my trials. I'm learning to find joy in spite of my trials, but in them? I don't know how to do that.

I know God uses trials to help us grow up, so I grit my teeth and bear it when trials come. That is really exhausting though. There isn't much joy in that either.

James tells us why we can be joyful in our trials:

"knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (or patience, steadfastness, perseverance). And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Dan and I went through disaster relief training at our church last month. I learned how to work in the feeding unit. Something I hadn't considered was the strength that would be needed to carry pots of food and to get the equipment set up and packed up. I will need to get myself to the gym to work on upper body strength before being deployed. The work I do everyday just doesn't produce the strength that will be required for the work. Muscles require exercise to grow and become strong. Faith works the same way. If there is never anything we are tested in, we don't learn to trust God and rely on Him. Faith requires trials to grow. Some trials are small - a misunderstanding with a friend, rush hour traffic. Others are really difficult - a loved ones death, a cancer diagnosis, living with a chronic illness.

 (I didn't go through the recovery training, which is why I could take pictures. Handling a chainsaw and shoveling mud out of houses didn't seem like a good fit.)

We have a choice when trials come. We can give all of it to God - what is happening, our anger, and hopelessnesss, and the outcome - and grow. The alternative is to grumble and complain and become bitter and let our faith atrophy like unused muscles.

God will never leave you. He is there in all of the trials. Sometimes, we don't hear Him or feel His presences, but He is there.

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